Behavioural Science
Direct mail
Credit cards
Two men in front of some foliage holding cups looking at each other smiling
Bringing down debt for people with credit cards by more than £50 million

Using behavioural science to go above and beyond

When it comes to credit card debt, behaviours can easily become ingrained and habits can be tough to change. People can often focus on the immediate gratification credit cards have to offer, and not the long-term consequences of being in debt.

All too aware of this, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) created a new set of regulations around when and how providers should communicate with these customers in order to support them out of ‘persistent debt’ – as they defined it.
When one of the UK’s biggest banking brands saw the new rules, they wanted to do more than simply meet the guidelines. They felt a more comprehensive approach would be needed to help change those established patterns of behaviour

Achieving this shift in customer behaviour demanded a different approach.

Our experience of financial decision-making told us that to change these behaviours, our strategy would need to go further than the regulation demanded. It would require a series of carefully timed communications, across different channels, grounded in key behavioural principles.

Our strategy was to talk about the customer’s finances using a financial frame rather than a time frame, helping them make a more personal connection with potential financial losses.

We also addressed present bias to help them think longer term about their debt. In order to do this we needed to communicate more often, ‘nudging’ customers to change their behaviour through a wider range of channels that the three regulatory letters set out in the new rules.

Diagram showing a number of communications across a number of months nudging behaviour

We created a series of 18 communications across a combination of channels, each of them grounded in behavioural principles.

By making the most of cheaper channels as well as letters, we were able to deliver timely, personalised communications that really resonated with customers.

The programme generated a 7.5% increase in repayments at launch. And on average customers increased their repayments by over £100 a month – meaning over £50 million was paid off customer balances in total.

Regulation is in place for the good of the customer. Those brands that choose to align to the spirit of regulation – rather than adhere to the bare minimum – can create a competitive advantage with their brand experience.
A close up of a mobile with an example text from a bankA close up of a mobile with an example text from a bank
A view over the shoulder of a man reading a letter from a bank

More together

Signal plays a pivotal role in the transformation of one of the UK’s biggest banking brands to a more customer-centric business, delivering over 200 million communications every year for the group.

For over 15 years we’ve been combining our deep delivery expertise with close collaboration to recommend ways to improve customers' understanding of complex changes, improve speed to market through automation and ways of working efficiencies, whilst at the same time ensuring the highest standards of risk management.

And this has enabled, not only the delivery of more timely, personalised and effective communications to customers, but savings of millions thanks to better data and communication management.

Signal is the no. 1 trusted supplier for the development, design & deployment of complex customer communications.
Ed Knight
Senior Consultant, Signal
other projects