NatWest has launched ‘Housemate’, a new app that uses Experian’s Open Banking platform to help renters living in shared accommodation split bills.
The bank’s new digital tool will track who owes each other money in a household of renters, using Open Banking to let housemates link their current account to the app and make payments to whoever they owe money to.
Paul Speirs, managing director, digital consumer information at Experian UK&I, said: “We’ve seen a boom in helpful new digital apps and tools over the course of the last 18 months, as the pandemic has prompted more people to turn to online services to manage their finances.
“By using the data made available through Open Banking, financial services providers are helping people take more control of their financial health and manage their money more effectively.”
NatWest said that its research among renters in shared housing revealed that 45% find it uncomfortable having to remind housemates to pay their share of household bills, while a further 48% feel awkward when a housemate falls behind with payments.
The findings, based on responses from more than 1,500 people in the UK, showed that 46% of those renting with others are the sole flatmate to take control and organise all the bills, collect money and send reminders.
In addition, 20% of renters who live with other people worry that renting stops them building up their credit score.
NatWest said that the new app could help those who rent to build their history with its data partner Experian.
Wendy Redshaw, chief digital information officer, retail banking digitech at NatWest, said that living in shared rental accommodation is “often necessary” for young people.
“From our research we found that a good proportion of those in shared accommodation find sorting finances frustrating and awkward.
“With Housemate, we have created a one-stop-shop for renters to simplify this experience, enabling those in shared accommodation to manage their joint finances smoothly and at any time,” Redshaw added.