When technology can ‘Dumb Us Down’

Over the ‘Easter’ break I noticed an increasing frequency of an advertisement for a web based business known as ‘’Finder. Com’’. Before I move on to the subject matter I’d encourage you to visit this website link, & in particular read the disclaimer at the foot of the home page. Specifically “We also don't recommend specific products, services or providers. If you decide to apply for a product or service through our website you will be dealing directly with the provider of that product or service and not with us ”

Now this web based product / service information provider, markets itself with knowledge far beyond its basic format. I say that because of the actual words spoken on the advertisement. It carries both its own ’Credit License’’ & acts as an authorized representative under another entity’s ‘’Australian Financial Services License’’. I’ll return to the statement made under their disclaimer confirming that they do not provide recommendations , in other words ‘ No Advice’ on products. The website offers product / service comparisons in a number of different industries & the (4) main people involved appear to be driven by improving the ‘’pricing’’ on deals that service providers supply to their clients. That in itself is commendable . I will not discuss any other product / service other than that which I have had (37) year’s industry experience , being lending & finance. On the website they offer a direct credit application to each advertised lender . The process is via a link. Once again such an online business set up is driven by numbers & volumes, not necessarily focused on the individual’s personal needs. Here are what I see as the obvious dangers associated with consumers that might follow the online lender product pathway , driven by pricing alone:-

  1. Every time a credit application is made by a consumer it impacts detrimentally on their ‘’Credit File’’, due to fairly recent changes in the credit reporting system analytics. Point scoring accumulates for every enquiry / application & can therefore impact negatively on the outcome of future applications for credit.

  2. Specialized advice identifies an individual’s objectives & needs, & often that means it is not necessarily the product with cheaper rates & fees that successfully meets those specific client needs.

  3. Lender policies change regularly according to particular products & markets they are chasing. The structure of this website does not arm or empower clients with that knowledge.

  4. Lastly this sort of overt marketing & selling is not in itself driven by client protection or retention, it is driven as mentioned above by volumes in numbers & dollars. The question begs, is that in the clients best interest? The end lender carries a fiduciary duty of care . The website entity carries no such obligation for care of its consumers.

As our younger demographics move through their life stages where credit & lending is frequently accessed by them, is it not critical that they have specialized support to ensure they make very informed decisions? Simply pitching a website based on price is a ‘dumbing down’ of the services & products being supplied. Is it not?

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