Firms to improve credit assessment as more consumers struggle with credit card bills

ABOUT seven out of 10 consumer-facing businesses in Singapore plan to step up their digital capabilities for assessing customer creditworthiness in the next 12 months as more consumers face problems paying their online credit card bills amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is according to a survey by information services company Experian, which polled 300 consumers and 90 businesses from Singapore between June and July.

Some 23 per cent of consumers in Singapore said that they were facing challenges paying credit card bills. This is up from the 11 per cent of consumers who faced difficulties prior to the pandemic. The survey did not cover the reasons behind the challenges.

"With Covid-19 impacting us in the foreseeable future, we anticipate digital transactions to form the bulk of interactions between consumers and businesses. However, businesses should also recognise the impact of Covid-19 on financial well-being that could potentially see customers facing increasing challenges with monthly credit obligations," said Mohan Jayaraman, managing director for South-east Asia and regional innovation at Experian Asia-Pacific.

He noted that as more consumers go online, their digital trail can serve as a source of data for businesses to gain insight to customers and their credit worthiness. "Businesses that invest in analytics capabilities will be in a position to leverage data-driven decisioning that can not only reduce their risk exposure, but better engage digital consumers," he added.

Globally, the number of consumers having difficulty paying their bills has also doubled since the pandemic began, according to Experian.

Altogether, the firm surveyed 3,000 consumers and 900 businesses in 10 countries, including Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, the UK and the US.