Modern lending: we’re living in a personalised world


If pop legend Madonna were to rewrite her 1980s chart-topping hit Material Girl for the 2020s, it’s possible she’d swap the word material for personal.

That’s because – thanks to modern digital tools – the products and services we consume today cater to our unique interests and habits. And if we’re not curating our lives in real time for a wide audience on social media, we may be helping brands get to know us better by sharing a range of data.

We are indeed living in a personal world.

Why consumers appreciate familiarity Research backs this up. A study by digital marketing specialists Adlucent found that 71% of consumers surveyed preferred to see adverts that were tailored to their interests and shopping behaviour.

For 87% of people surveyed, this means unique content based on previous purchases and shopping behaviour. Crucially, the agency found that consumers surveyed were twice as likely to click on a personalised ad from an unknown brand if the ad was tailored to their preferences. Tailoring content or services in a way that says you know your customers leads to deeper engagement.

But it’s not just online vendors and marketplaces who are being rewarded for getting to know their customers better. Lenders – whether banks or fintechs – are also expected to help deliver relevance to existing and prospective borrowers.

Marqeta spoke to thousands of consumers across the UK and Europe in an attempt to understand how people viewed finance and credit experiences. The information we gleaned is highly valuable and is published in our paper Seeking out the alternatives: how consumers are engaging with the Lending 3.0 landscape.

We found that payment cards help deliver a more personal service. For example, 71.3% of respondents said they would be interested in having a loan dispensed to a Visa or Mastercard that enables access to real-time, personalised rewards and incentives when used with specific merchants and retailers.

Interest in such a proposition held up across all age groups too, rising to 81.4% for 18-24-year-olds, 79.7% for those respondents aged 25-34 and 76.9% for respondents between 35 and 44 years.

Older audiences also expressed strong support for the idea, with respondents in the 45-54 age bracket at 68.5% and 55-64-year-old respondents coming in at 63.7%. This dropped to 52.9% for respondents aged 65 and above. Looking at the appetite for personalised rewards and incentives by gender, 72.1% of women surveyed backed the idea, while 70.3% of men surveyed gave it the thumbs up.

Continuing the personalisation theme, 69% of respondents told us they would be interested in having real-time data and alerts on how they were spending a loan, and 61% of respondents would value a lender who provided real-time, personalised advice on spending habits if it helped get the most out of a loan. Again this held up well across different age groups with more than half of those surveyed in all categories supporting the concept of personalised advice, with 25-34-year-old respondents being the most enthusiastic at 68.2%.

There is also an important financial inclusion reason for using tools that enable personalisation in lending. An astonishing 79% of respondents who had failed to secure a loan believed they would have experienced a positive outcome if other factors such as real-time data on weekly outgoings had been considered.

Take a helicopter view of our lending research and two trends emerge.

The first is that borrowers surveyed want finance to reflect and help serve their lifestyles, just as products delivered by other sectors do.

The second trend is that people surveyed want modern payment cards to offer an opportunity to meet this demand – and in a way that allows for continual and rapid evolution in line with fast-changing consumer trends.

Marqeta’s open API developer environment has been designed to enable lending innovators to build card products on their terms. In turn, this enables finance businesses to create experiences unique to each customer and at scale across many territories. With the right tools, it seems, lenders really are able to help everyone – including famous singers – to live in a personal world.

This blog is the third in our series about the Marqeta research paper Seeking out the alternatives; how consumers are engaging with the Lending 3.0 landscape. Read the first blog, about cryptocurrencies in lending, and the second, on the topic of community lending.