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Zilch signs pioneering partnership to work with leading UK debt charity StepChange in face of the cost-of-living crisis

Business Wire - Tue Feb 7, 2023

Zilch, the UK-headquartered payments technology company, today announces it has signed an industry-first partnership to work with StepChange, the UK’s leading debt advice charity, which will help Zilch’s millions of customers access help, should they need it, more quickly during the current cost of living crisis.

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Zilch signs pioneering partnership to work with leading UK debt charity StepChange in face of the cost-of-living crisis (Graphic: Business Wire)

Zilch signs pioneering partnership to work with leading UK debt charity StepChange in face of the cost-of-living crisis (Graphic: Business Wire)

This support for StepChange will see Zilch become the first provider of credit via buy now pay later to fully integrate StepChange Direct into its platform. The payments technology company will also go one step further and provide innovation that will better advance the user experience.

To help customers at what is usually a vulnerable time, Zilch and StepChange have worked together to identify a number of steps that are currently required when they are in financial stress and are referred for support that can be removed. StepChange’s immensely talented team will also work with the Zilch vulnerability team on how to recognise and make referrals to debt advice more effectively.

Zilch will be making financial contributions to StepChange through the Fair Share funding mechanism, supporting the charity in its operations and ensuring that UK consumers continue to benefit from easy access to an independent charity committed to helping people in financial difficulty become debt-free.

Working with StepChange comes off the back of Zilch more recently becoming the first provider of its kind to report customer behaviour to all major UK Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs).

To date Zilch has provided its customers with over £95 million in aggregate savings as it charges zero interest for instalment loans and offers cashback and deals of up to 10% back when paying by debit. Zilch was one of the first companies in the space to be regulated by the FCA and sets dynamic, personalised affordability limits on customers’ total borrowing to make every transaction affordable. Through this support for StepChange, Zilch customers can be immediately and seamlessly referred for free high-quality independent advice, provided through StepChange’s omni-channel debt advice service, whenever needed (at which point further Zilch credit is also temporarily suspended).

Today’s announcement is Zilch’s latest industry-leading innovation to promote financial inclusion and help protect consumers from problem debt. Last month Zilch announced that it had reached a ground-breaking deal with the most reputable UK CRAs that will see its customers’ borrowing and repayment activity using Zilch credit begin influencing their credit scores and profiles for the first time. This innovation provides millions of British consumers the opportunity to build and improve their credit scores without making use of high-cost, revolving credit products. It will also boost consumer protections and financial health throughout the wider UK consumer credit ecosystem by giving other lenders visibility of Zilch users’ current and historic borrowing activity.

Philip Belamant, CEO and co-founder of Zilch, said:“The entire ethos of Zilch is about being customer-first and we’ve built the business around doing the right thing by our customers - even if it’s difficult - every time. It’s why we’ve invested so much time and resource into building a meaningfully proactive relationship with StepChange. To Zilch, this partnership is a natural and obvious one - why would any responsible lender of credit not want to align with an establishment such as StepChange that is doing so much to support people in these hard times?

“This partnership ensures we provide our customers with the very best support if they do fall behind on repayments - all for free.”

Phil Andrew, CEO of StepChange, said: “StepChange has been helping people for 30 years – and during that time has supported millions of people seeking help with problem debt.

“Over the last three decades a lot has changed – with new challenges like the cost-of-living crisis and new financial products.

“But one thing has not changed and that is our commitment to support people struggling with problem debt and to work with a wide network of partners and supporters to ensure that those who need help can access it.

“Zilch’s commitment to our work through the payment of Fair Share contributions, as well as finding innovative ways to minimise the barriers to people seeking help, will support us at StepChange to continue our important mission.”


Zilch is a UK-headquartered payments technology company. We offer our customers the best and most empowering way to pay, whenever and wherever they spend. Using Zilch’s virtual Mastercard that combines the best of debit, credit and savings, our customers can either earn rewards on debit payments in the form of immediate cashback (‘Pay in 1’) or spread the cost by in-app toggling over to pay with credit to access interest-free repayments over six weeks (‘Pay in 4’). This is made possible by the proprietary Ad-Subsidised Payment Network (ASPN) that Zilch has built, which in a cookieless world enables retailers around the world to connect directly with the millions of Zilch customers they otherwise couldn’t reach and offer them savings, deals and discounts.

By partnering directly with consumers rather than merchants, Zilch allows customers to pay using either reward-earning debit or interest-free credit, both online and in-store, anywhere that Mastercard is accepted. To ensure that we are helping our customers to manage their cash flow responsibly when they make credit payments, we set dynamic borrowing limits using best-in-market data from credit reference agencies, open banking and behavioural data analysis. Together these generate a real-time, comprehensive, 360-degree view of a customer’s affordability profile, allowing us to set personalised borrowing limits accordingly. To further bolster our customer safeguards, we are fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, having obtained a consumer credit license prior to our launch.

Since launching as an FCA regulated business in the UK in September 2020 and in the US in May 2022, Zilch has amassed over 3 million registered customers. In that time, we have provided our customers with over £95 million in aggregate rewards and savings on fees and interest. Zilch is Europe’s fastest-ever company to go from Series A to double-unicorn status, in just 14 months, after raising capital at a $2bn valuation in November 2021 and maintaining that valuation in a subsequent funding round in Summer 2022.

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StepChange Debt Charity is the UK’s largest debt advice charity, helping hundreds of thousands of people a year.

Founded in 1993, StepChange supports people experiencing debt problems through telephone and online services, and campaigns for change to reduce the harm and stigma associated with debt.

How your readers can get help with their debts

We provide the UK’s most comprehensive debt advice service, from budgeting tips through to managing debt solutions that enable to people to pay off or clear debts. All our free debt advice is available by phone or on our website.

StepChange is currently experiencing problems with imposter firms, who pass themselves off as the charity in online adverts. As these imposters are prominent online, if you are directing an advice seeker towards our services, please include a direct link to our website:

Our Helpline: 0800 138 1111

Provided Content: Content provided by Business Wire. The Globe and Mail was not involved, and material was not reviewed prior to publication.

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