Tech start-up launches digital mortgage adviser


Robo-advice has moved beyond basic rate comparisons with the launch of an artificially intelligent “Digital Mortgage Adviser” which can provide an illustration of mortgage costs in an average of ten minutes.

The service has been set up by UK tech start-up Habito.

Applicants can access the service 24/7 through any device without the need for a human broker, though the process does not provide details of specific products. For product recommendations, the borrower must speak to a real-life adviser either over live chat or on the phone to verify details, run through product options, check eligibility and submit the application.

The service uses AI technology and an algorithm to assess all the elements of a customer’s financial life, including their employment, salary and life plans. It then maps these details against real-time market mortgage rates to calculate an indicative monthly payment.

The Digital Mortgage Adviser explains the impact consumers’ decisions will have on the set-up of each mortgage. It is whole-of-market apart from the lenders that only offer deals direct to customers or via a limited panel of brokers. However, Habito says it will still tell the borrower if any of those deals are the best option for them.

In designing the new system, Habito analysed hundreds of advice interviews in order to understand what consumers needed and what formed the basis of informative advice. The company says the chat-like interface provides an unbiased, conversational experience, without the need for lengthy in-person queues, waiting on hold or paying a premium for advice.

Chief executive and founder Daniel Hegarty says: “Finding the right mortgage product in the UK is like finding a needle in a haystack. Britons are crying out for some innovation and clarity in an outdated and overwhelming mortgage market.

“Our digital mortgage adviser is a huge step forward in making mortgage advice accessible for consumers in the way they need it most: unbiased, always available and most importantly free.”

Habito says its digital mortgage adviser is a direct response to the FCA’s Financial Advice Market Review which calls for greater access to financial advice. Habito plans to roll out additional interactive features later this year, such as remortgage alerts.