The Brazilian economy has grown in recent years, largely because consumers have borrowed money to support their spending. This has made debt repayment a major issue. Every year, lenders send around 120 million letters to more than 42 million Brazilian consumers, to tell them about their unpaid debts. Even so, nearly 60% of Brazilian consumers claim not to know about their debts. This means many end up with a poor credit rating, so they cannot access financial services in the future.

Serasa Experian is committed to reversing this trend, by helping Brazilian consumers to repay their debts. Since 2012, we have hosted 12 debt fairs across the country. These fairs, called Limpa Nome ('Clean my name'), have brought 230,000 consumers together with their lenders, so they can understand what they owe and agree repayments they can afford.

Debt fairs are successful but they can only achieve a limited amount in a country the size of Brazil. So in 2013 we went a step further, investing in a new service for consumers, supported by funding from our social innovation programme. In July 2013, we launched Recovery Portal, an online 'one-stop shop' which is free to consumers. It allows them to easily access their debt records, talk to their lenders and agree achievable repayments.

The portal will put millions of consumers back in control, allowing them to deal directly, securely and privately with their lenders. Agreeing manageable repayments will also help lenders to recover more of their money in the long term. The portal will also improve lenders' relationships with consumers, by giving them a new, low-cost way of getting in touch and by preventing people having to deal with collection agencies.

Since its launch, more than two million people have enrolled on the Recovery Portal, registering an average of two debts each. Many of these users are low earners, with incomes around the minimum wage. Early results show that around 70% successfully negotiate settlements with their lenders. By embarking on an awareness campaign across Brazil, we aim to register five million consumers on the portal by March 2015.