UK consumers determined to take greater control of their finances in wake of pandemic

  • After a year of financial uncertainty, more than a quarter (28%) of UK consumers want to improve their financial know-how in 2021
  • Over a third (35%) are regularly surprised by the cost of household bills
  • More than a quarter (29%) of 18-34-year olds don’t know the cost of their monthly rent or mortgage payment
  • Across all ages, a fifth (22%) are more likely to talk to their partner about managing their finances than before the pandemic
  • The findings follow the launch of Santander’s ‘My Money Manager’– new functionality within its mobile banking app to help customers get on the front foot with their finances.

New research1 from Santander UK shows that UK consumers are determined to take greater control of their personal finances in 2021 following their experiences of Covid-19. The findings suggest that the pandemic has taken its toll on a significant number of household financial situations, with nearly a third (32%) feeling ‘very worried’ about its continued impact on their finances. 

This has spurred many into action, with more than a quarter (28%) saying they have been inspired to improve their financial know-how. The research – which was based on a nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults – shows this rises to 42% among adults aged 18-34, suggesting this year has made this group particularly attuned to the importance of money management. 

While nearly two thirds (64%) of people check that their household’s regular bills or Direct Debits have been paid every month, the research shows that many people have a distinct lack of awareness of the real cost of their household bills and finances2. More than a third (35%) of adults report that they are regularly surprised by how expensive some of their household bills are. 

Younger adults are generally less familiar with their bills than their parents or grandparents, according to the research. Of the respondents, 41% of those aged under 34 said they had no idea or could only make a ‘guesstimate’ of the cost of their utility bills (gas, electricity, water). By comparison, four fifths (80%) of those over 55 knew the exact figure or within £10.  

Across all ages, nearly 1 in 5 (17%) people do not know the cost of their monthly rent or mortgage payment, a figure which alarmingly rises to more than a quarter (29%) of those under 34 years old. In stark comparison, this is true of only 5% of those aged over 55. 

Mobile phone bills were the most well-known bill across all age groups, with 88% of people either knowing the exact figure or within £10. However, older generations were the most aware of their mobile phone costs, with 96% knowing the exact figure or within £10.  

Promisingly, the findings reveal that many consumers have already started taking steps to be more financially savvy. Compared to before the first lockdown, a quarter (26%) check their bank balance more regularly and shop around more for deals (23%). Almost half (45%) are spending more time managing their household bills, with 17% spending more than a full extra hour extra a month managing them. Furthermore, four in ten (40%) have been paying more attention to personal finance information than they did before the March lockdown. Banks are the most popular source of information (10%), followed by friends and family (9%) and personal finance television programmes (8%). 

Andy Warren, Head of Digital Transformation at Santander UK, shares three tips for improving financial know-how in 2021: “The first step is knowing where you actually spend your money. Digital tools, like My Money Manager in Santander’s mobile banking app, help make it easy to track spending patterns. Second – spot your potential savings. Using digital tools, you can pinpoint any unwanted subscriptions or services. Lastly, be proactive when it comes to finding good deals. My Money Manager tells you when your household bills go up or down, for instance – so you know when to start shopping for other options.”

Across the UK people are also ready to open up about money, with a fifth of respondents (22%) saying they are now more likely to talk to their partner about managing their finances than before the pandemic. Meanwhile 14% are more likely to speak to friends about money, with this rising to a quarter (27%) for people aged 18-34. 

My Money Manager is new digital functionality which is seamlessly integrated into Santander’s mobile banking app. Driven by AI, it helps Santander’s customers get on the front foot with their finances by delivering clear, personalised insights into spending and upcoming financial commitments, as well as helpful tips through push notifications and a new insights inbox. My Money Manager has so far has delivered over 4 million personalised insights3.  

For information on My Money Manager visit: https://www.santander.co.uk/personal/support/help-with-managing-my-mone…

- Ends -

The information contained in our press releases is intended solely for journalists and should not be used by consumers to make financial decisions.

Notes to Editors 

About My Money Manager
My Money Manager is seamlessly integrated into the Santander mobile banking app to give easy access to personalised financial data-driven insights, alerts, and tips. These will be continuously developed as the app learns customer behaviour, preferences and integrates customer feedback.

Some examples of the insights and tools available include:

  • Expected deposit dates for regular payments like salaries, pensions and benefits.
  • Push notifications if a regular payment, for instance a household bill or subscription, has increased or decreased, been duplicated or if a new payment has started to be claimed from the account. 
  • Purchase analysis, including summaries of whether a category of spend has increased/decreased e.g. “You spent £50 more eating out this month than last month.”
  • Notice of subscription services that are coming up for renewal, or if an auto-renewal payment has been taken from the account. 
  • Advanced warning if a bank card is due to expire. 
  1. Research is drawn from a survey conducted by Opinium research between the 20-24th November 2020. The base size was 2,000 UK adults, and was weighted to be nationally representative. 
  2. Q. How well do you know the cost for each of the following bills for your household - see table below.
  3. My Money Manager launched to Santander customers in the mobile banking app on 27 October 2020.
  4. Santander customers can join virtual events to find out more about our Mobile and Online Banking services. For information please visit www.santander.co.uk/events.

% Not very well (No idea or can only make a guesstimate)

% Well or Very Well (know exact figure or within £5-10)

Household bill

Average all ages

18-34

35-54

55+

Average all ages

18-34

35-54

55+

Gas

25%

43%

24%

13%

75%

57%

76%

87%

Electric

23%

39%

22%

14%

77%

61%

78%

86%

Water

27%

41%

25%

20%

73%

59%

75%

80%

Broadband

20%

33%

19%

11%

80%

67%

81%

89%

TV Package

20%

36%

18%

9%

80%

64%

82%

91%

Subscriptions (e.g. TV or film streaming)

17%

25%

17%

8%

83%

75%

83%

92%

Mobile phone costs

12%

23%

14%

4%

88%

77%

86%

96%

Council tax

22%

36%

23%

12%

78%

64%

77%

88%

Rent or mortgage

17%

29%

15%

5%

83%

71%

85%

95%

 

Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. On 30 June 2020, the bank had around 23,000 employees and serves around 14 million active customers, via a nationwide branch network, telephone, mobile and online banking. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers’ eligible deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK. 

Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, founded in 1857 and headquartered in Spain. It has a meaningful presence in 10 core markets in Europe and the Americas and is one of the largest banks in the world by market capitalization. Its purpose is to help people and businesses prosper in a simple, personal and fair way. Santander is building a more responsible bank and has made a number of commitments to support this objective, including raising over €120 billion in green financing between 2019 and 2025, as well as financially empowering more than 10 million people over the same period. At the end of the first half of 2020, Banco Santander had more than a trillion euros in total funds, 146 million customers, of which 21.5 million are loyal and 40 million are digital, 11,800 branches and 194,000 employees. 

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