As part of its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, the MOD is working with several organisations to improve the ability of Armed Forces personnel to gain access to a wider number of commercial products and financial services, and lessen associated difficulties that are often experienced because of their unique lifestyle.
Many serving personnel continue to experience difficulty in accessing commercial products and services, due in part to their mobility and time spent outside the UK on overseas postings.
The Government has worked with representative bodies from the financial sector (including the UK Cards Association, the British Bankers’ Association, the Finance and Leasing Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies Association) to raise awareness within their membership of the unique nature of life in the Armed Forces and of the need to avoid disadvantage.
They have produced a series of ‘top tips’ offering practical help for serving personnel applying for secured (mortgages) and unsecured (mobile phone contracts, motor finance, credit cards) loans.
See Related Links to access these financial top tips.
The guidance notes offer advice as to which information Service personnel should have available to allow a lender to best assess their application for credit, and ways of improving credit applications, such as registering to vote.
The aim of the top tips is to highlight some of the common difficulties faced by the Services’ mobile population in acquiring credit and provide guidance on how to overcome or minimise these difficulties.
The top tips are the first step in a programme of work that will be rolled out during 2012, including improving the way in which credit reference agencies maintain credit profiles for Armed Forces personnel, and better enabling fair access to sources of credit such as mortgages.
The MOD is also working with the Standard Life Charitable Trust and the Royal British Legion who are developing a new financial education programme to be implemented in Spring 2012.
All of these initiatives will help members of the Armed Forces to gain the same access to products and services as the general public, despite the demands of Service life, and the mobility that is a part of it.
The MOD will continue to work with banks and building societies on improving lending to Service personnel. The Defence Discount Scheme is already in operation and enhanced access will be available next year. The Community Covenant may encourage local businesses to offer further tailored support to Armed Forces personnel in accessing public and commercial services.
Finally, we expect to see the roll-out of a new system, in Spring 2012, to help overcome difficulties in maintaining a credit rating whilst living at British Forces Post Office addresses.