These profiles have been created after research with real customers in vulnerable situations. All names have been changed.
Research has shown that customers save more, for longer, when they have tangible goals to aim for. Retirement and ‘rainy day’ saving is significantly less successful. Often these mental models correspond with a customer's appetite for risk. When the goal of saving for a house was removed, Amy's mental model shifted from saving to spending.
Amy's liabilities are split about 70/30 between her usual bank and a credit card firm. Despite the fact that both these firms have access to her credit file and can see her total amount of credit, each has chosen to lend ever greater sums based on their individual risk models and appetite.
The limit on Amy's credit card has been increased several times, all by default. Standard practice for many credit card firms is to require the customer to make a phone call to reject the new limit. Research has shown that customers are significantly less likely to actively reject a limit increase when the process is laborious or time-consuming.
Despite Amy's debt levels, she's never missed a payment or gone over her limit. This means she looks like a fair risk to the decision-making engines. As a result, she's been able to apply for credit on a yearly basis, online, without any human interaction or deeper review of her needs.