“Not everyone has a credit score, but everyone has a personality type”

unnamedBig data lends new Zest to banks’ credit judgments

By Patrick Jenkins



When Douglas Merrill left Google, he made the kind of move into financial services that many believe the tech giant itself may one day make.

Mr Merrill, the internet group’s former chief information officer founded Zest Finance to develop a simple theory: that consumers’ online behaviour can be a decent proxy for their reliability in managing money. “All data is credit data,” he once told the New York Times. “We just don’t know how to use it yet.”

Zest is one of a fast-growing coterie of financial technology companies – “fintech”, to use the jargon – that are aiming to revolutionise the way banks and other financial services companies operate.

Talk of fintech investment is all the rage these days, as banks try desperately to focus attention on a positive forward-looking agenda, and draw a line under the legacy woes. This is partly spin, of course. But investment in technology is also genuinely needed after seven years of crisis and post-crisis regulatory reform that distracted focus – and funding – away from the pipes and cables that make everything work. Who knows? Done right, it could even help prevent some of the scandals of the past. And, as with so much in the mass market internet world, it can claim to be an agent of democratisation.

Zest and companies like it claim that many people who have traditionally been denied credit – either because they lack a record of previous borrowing, or because that record is bad – will be validated by their broader approach to credit scoring. By using “big data” records sourced from individuals’ social network and internet footprints, typical credit scores can end up 40 per cent higher, Zest says. [Read more…]

eTail Europe 2014 – will you be there?


This year we are sending our very own Edward Weatherall over to the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London to attend eTail Europe. Are you attending?

eTail Europe is a conference focusing on customers, multi-platform understanding and supporting retail industry growth.

Ed will pose and discuss a variety of significantly telling questions throughout the session, including; Why do we call people who walk into stores ‘customers’ and people who shop online ‘users?’ The session will also focus on how VisualDNA is leveraging 30 years of combined Psychology, customer behaviour and big data to change the perceptions that retailers have of their online customers – moving away from clicks, visits and basket values to personality traits and behaviours.

[Read more…]

Did you attend Psych London 2014? VisualDNA did!


Last week, we took part in the annual Psych London event hosted by Chinwag. Chinwag Psych is a full day conference covering psychology, neuroscience and behavioural economics. Its mission is to examine the rapidly changing disciplines and explore how they can be applied to business. From practical psychology-based case studies to cutting edge neuroscience, the day-long event was filled with thought-provoking presentations, panel sessions, informed Q & A sessions, plus plenty of time for networking.

This year, the structure of the day was determined by four key words: persuade, analyse, optimise and anticipate. Throughout the day, engaging speakers addressed questions such as ‘How can you be more persuasive?’; ‘When you’re designing a user’s experience, how do you know what’s working?’; ‘How can you optimise your current approach to get the results you want?’; and ‘What’s next?’ [Read more…]