In Italy, some people believe that a credit report is just a list of bad people who haven’t paid what they owe. In addition to a poor understanding of how credit works, some Italians also have large amounts of debt, especially among millennials.
Young people don’t always think about how their current financial situation can affect their future. Fewer millennials are taking out loans for houses and cars, and more and more take out small loans to pay for their gym memberships or mobile phones. Unemployment rates are high in Italy, and without a job to pay the fees, young families and students’ debt keep piling up.
I’ve worked with Experian for 16 years, but my current role as the marketing and communications manager in Italy is the first time I’ve worked directly for consumers, trying to understand their needs and how we can address them.
As a Italian, I’ve seen firsthand the lack of good financial education out there – even in the government – and my team and I wanted to find a solution that would help people understand their credit and financial situation to prepare them for the future.
My team partnered with Movimento Difesa del Cittadino (MDC) – an organization that promotes the protection of consumers in Italy – to create and launch a new tool in January 2017 called RataTua; or in English, “Your Installment.”
RataTua is a self-assessment smartphone application that enables consumers to assess their overall finances and their capacity to sustain additional loans. After assessing a consumer’s credit history, the app displays a red, yellow or green indicator of financial risk, and provides helpful tips and financial definitions to help people better understand their financial situation.
Our goals with this tool are to educate consumers on how to best prepare themselves for major financial decisions and explain how they can improve their credit scores.
At Experian, we have amazing quantities of both positive and negative data, and we’re trying to shift the perspective that credit bureaus are not the equivalent to Santa’s naughty list.
In addition to the app, we printed 20 thousand copies of a Consumer Advice Guide that walks consumers through their lending journey – from their decision to apply for a loan to how to avoid falling into too much debt. We’ve distributed these brochures throughout 60 Movimento del Cittadino offices in Italy.
In the end, we want to give young Italians more choices and opportunities for their futures, so they can achieve their goals. By helping millennials think through how their financial choices have implications for the future, we can prepare them for unforeseen expenses down the road.