The Netherlands debt-free

More than 20% of all Dutch households have problematic debts. People with debts lose the financial overview and are ashamed of the situation, which makes the step to seek help even bigger. In order to help these people, ADG services group has developed an app in collaboration with various parties: fiKks. The app links participants to a so-called 'buddy'; someone who helps them to get rid of their payment delays free of charge and anonymously. 


We are talking about maybe the last taboo in the Netherlands: money problems, often hidden. These do not only lead to debt, stress, frustration and apathy, but also costs society money. With fiKks we break this taboo and help people to discuss and quickly solve emerging money concerns.

Ron Steenkuijl, Director corporate affairs ADG

Taboo: debts

After extensive discussions with mayors and councillors of large and medium-sized cities, one theme is constantly re-occurring. Almost half of the Dutch households have difficulty making ends meet. In fact, one in five households in the Netherlands has risky or problematic debts. 

The subject of debt is a major taboo in Dutch society. For this reason, people in debt do not like to talk about their financial problems, which results in them seeking help too late. This makes the financial situation even worse. Because of the taboo, the people around them often do not know about their debts. The employer is often the first person to be aware of financial problems due to a salary claim.

People with a debt generally function not so well because of the stress it causes, which often results in health problems and/or absenteeism due to illness. It is therefore important to address these problems at an early stage. 

The rise of fiKks

Through its philosophy of 'De Wil', ADG Services Group develops socially engaged activities, in which scalability comes first. Digital innovations often serve as a solution for this scalability. The company joins forces with Sosialforce, TRIMM, Reputations and DigitalMe

After extensive research it appears that an app is the right tool to reach the target group. The tasks are divided: Sosialforce takes the lead in the process of building and launching the app, Reputations and DigitalMe take care of the entire brand experience and TRIMM builds the final application and manages the app on a technical level.  

Insight and help from a buddy

The app fiKks gives participants a simple and anonymous insight into their financial situation. The participants are certainly not alone: after registering, they can choose a so-called buddy. These buddies follow a special e-learning program. This program gives them the basis needed to understand the complex world of debt. The buddies help participants through the app to gain insight into their debts, and coach/support where necessary.

Functionalities of the app

One of the most important aspects in developing the app is customer centricity. The app is fully tailored to and tested by the end users: participants and buddies. Following feedback from the target group, the following functionalities have been included:

  • Matching the participant with a buddy (this can be done anonymously);
  • The joint preparation of a clear debt file;
  • The online organisation of cost-reducing and income-increasing measures;
  • The app helps, in cooperation with the buddy, to determine which debts have priority in order to avoid extra costs.

Behind the scenes at TRIMM

TRIMM is responsible for the backend implementation of the app. At this moment we are using a platform in Spring Boot. This technique is used to set up a residual API that processes, stores and combines data. This tailor-made solution brings data together in the right, structured and secure way. Privacy by design is an important core element of GDPR, especially in this data-driven project. Data of the participants is only stored to a very limited extent, at this moment only a postcode is needed to log in and use the app, however this information is not stored.

fiKks in the media

The news explodes when it is announced that former finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem registers as the first buddy. The app receives a lot of national media attention. Among others, the AD, RTL news, NIBUD, Linda. and BNR news radio communicate about the app. The news even reached the Royal Family: in February 2018 Queen Maxima visited Schuldenlab070. During this visit, the ADG services group informs the Queen about the initiative, development and further development of the app, and the potential for the Dutch population, both socially and socially.

In the Netherlands literally millions of people live with payment delays. These are not immediately problematic debts, but they can become problematic. It is a major social problem. FiKks helps to prevent these people from really getting into trouble.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem - former Minister of Finance

Like to know more about this case?

Would you like to know more about the app? You can also check out the website from fiKks. Would you like to help? You can sign up as buddy or download the free fikKs app. Questions for us? Fill in the contact form below and we will contact you as soon as possible! 

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