The Cost of Living Hackathon

24th May 2023 | Blogs, News, Uncategorised


At the beginning of the year, in collaboration with Ernst & Young LLP, we published the “FinTech: Helping with the Cost of Living” report, showcasing examples of how the FinTech ecosystem is positively supporting the broader society to navigate the cost of living crisis and the economic difficulties many consumers and businesses are facing. By sharing good practices and tools already available to help manage finances, this report highlighted how FinTechs are delivering products and services that are making a difference to people’s lives. 

One of the recommendations of that report was that further tech tools could be developed to help improve the ability of organisations such as the Citizens Advice (CA) to assist more people manage their finances during this cost of living crisis. Demand for support services has risen significantly, increasing the impact of the time CA advisers spend with clients and   improving the impact of their advice is becoming a major challenge. We decided to work with a consortium of firms, who have voluntarily committed the time and expertise of some of their colleagues in their teams, to run a tech sprint and build new tools to help institutions provide more support to those in need.

During the “hackathon”, a collaborative event designed to unite talented and passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds, the collective mission was to develop innovative solutions to help consumers facing difficulties due to the cost of living crisis. By leveraging unique skills sets, industry expertise and creative ideas, we saw our FinTech community come together to work towards societal problems and provide solutions to generate positive impact. 

The sessions took place on 18 and 19 of May 2023 at the EY FinTech Lab. Four teams of volunteers from eight companies and Citizens Advice dedicated their time and passion to solve two challenges: 

  • to better summarise and profile the financial information of a person attending CA for advice;
  • to create more effective systems and processes to identify vulnerable customers sooner so institutions can provide help and support faster.

After two days of collaborative work, the four teams presented their solutions to a jury who assessed these ideas taking into account criteria such as innovation and creativity, relevance and impact, technical execution, scalability and sustainability, quality of presentation and commerciality. One team was selected as the best idea to potentially implement going forward.

We are delighted to continue to see the industry come together to democratise the access to financial tools and services to those who need it the most. The reception of this initiative has been phenomenal and we are very grateful with all those that have participated either as volunteers, organisers and judges. We need more of these instances of collaboration to continue to solve the important societal issues we face.

“We developed the EY FinTech Lab to help FinTechs build a more innovative and inclusive financial services sector in the UK. It has been amazing to see this vision come to life over the last two days. Seeing firms work together in the Lab to help develop solutions that will benefit some of the most vulnerable in society shows the power of FinTechs for societal good”, said Christopher Woolard CBE, Partner, EMEIA Financial Services Consulting and Chair, EY Global Regulatory Network.

“We are really pleased to take part in this hackathon and see so much expertise come together to help us solve problems for our clients. The teams presented really innovative and thoughtful proposals, and we’re delighted to have been able to partner with a range of passionate financial experts in the sector to come up with such fresh ideas” commented Kylie Havelock Director of Product and Platforms at Citizens Advice.

One more time, I would like to thank all those who brought their passion, effort, time, ideas, and their desire to build a better world to the table. It is inspiring to see such great results and we will continue to work together to provide more beneficial solutions and showcase the great work that our FinTech community is developing.

Janine Hirt

CEO at Innovate Finance






Our judges:

Adam Jackson, Director of Policy, Innovate Finance
Kylie Havelock, Director for Product and Platforms, Citizens Advice
Magdalena Kron, Rise Global FinTech Platform Director
David Atkins, Head of Group Customer Inclusion, Lloyds Banking Group
Lucas Germanos, Director or Communications & Public Affairs, Zopa
Evanna Fitzgerald, Partner at EY, Business Transformation Leader (Banking)

The Hackathon winners...The Careful Spenders!

The Careful Spenders designed an online digital tool for people using Citizens Advice services to remove frictions for clients sharing their financial information with Citizens Advice, saving advisors’ time which will allow more customers to receive services faster.

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