Ffrees Family Finance is a digital current account that helps families to save as they spend. Customers receive Ffrees points when they purchase through their account from Ffrees’ network of providers. These points are placed into a separate savings account, which customers can then redeem as cash.
Impact Objective: To increase access to products and services for individuals and communities experiencing exclusion
Services such as Ffrees Money Manager also help people manage their budget and put money aside that is ring-fenced to pay bills. The basic account is free to join and has no monthly fees, and anyone with a confirmed UK address can get an account regardless of financial or social status.
Alex Letts, chief executive and founder of Ffrees, says it’s attracting people that want a new type of account: “Millions of families today are not good business for the banks unless they can be charged fees and penalties. Not surprisingly, families are unhappy. Our unique current account is accessible for all families, regardless of their financial status.”
With nearly 9m individuals classified as unbanked or underbanked , Ffrees offers a real alternative to the traditional banking model. Research by The Friends Provident Foundation has shown that even 43% of the newly banked are still transacting entirely in cash, in part due to a fear of penalties, and partly because of the flexibility cash can provide.
Ffrees launched in Jan 2013 and is now receiving over 200 new account applications per day.
Nesta Impact Investments was attracted to Ffrees because of the potential it offers to revolutionise the way people on lower incomes access and benefit from financial services. Director of Nesta Impact Investments, Joe Ludlow, says: “Ffrees offers hard pressed families a reliable and fairly priced current account, so that they can spend electronically and access the best prices for everyday goods and services. By providing budgeting tools and a linked savings facility it is helping people manage their money well.”