Financial exclusion created by “confusion and distrust” in the system

London - 2 June 2016

Britons say the Government needs to do more to tackle the problem 

More than a third (35%) of people think distrust of the financial system is causing financial exclusion in the UK, with a fifth (20%) saying people prefer to keep their money in cash, according to new MasterCard research[1] on perceptions of inclusion in Europe.

However, those who deal only in cash face a ‘money ceiling’, where they pay more for bills, are excluded from online banking and do not benefit from the security of keeping their money in the financial system. In fact, those who are financially excluded face a cash premium of £1,300 per year, and have less choice[2].

More than half (54%) of those who are included in the financial system think financial security is the key benefit, while 52% also believe they save money by being financially included.

Nearly a quarter (24%) of people think financial exclusion isn’t a problem in the UK. But the reality is very different – two million people remain unbanked.

Britons think a lack of knowledge about money management is a key driver of financial exclusion in the UK – two fifths (41%) agree. When it comes to tackling the problem, two thirds of Britons (62%) think the onus is on the government to make improvements, and more than half (55%) say financial institutions are responsible, above individuals themselves (46%). More than two fifths (42%) say money management classes would help tackle the problem.

Nearly three quarters (74%) of Brits say that access to digital products and services has vastly increased people’s ability to access financial products and services. In fact, Britons think being digitally included is more important than being financially included when it comes to participating in society – 45% compared to 37%.

Commenting on the findings, Ann Cairns, President International Markets for MasterCard, said: “Financial and digital inclusion are intrinsically linked. Going hand in hand, these elements are critical to living a free, fair and full life, and British people agree. However, despite being one of the most developed regions in the world, it is clear more needs to be done to close the gaps in inclusion.”

Again, more than two thirds (63%) say it is the government’s responsibility to tackle digital exclusion, whereas less than half (49%) agree it is the individual’s responsibility.

Ann Cairns concluded: “An EU mandate entitles every citizen to a basic payment account, and the World Bank and G20 have set a goal of universal financial access by 2020. However, when considered that only around a quarter of Europeans believe that Europe is the most financially and digitally inclusive region in the world and gender exclusion remains an issue too, improving inclusion across the region must remain a high priority if we are to achieve a truly open and inclusive society.”

[1] Norstat research, May 2016

[2] Save the Children, 2011. The UK Poverty Rip-Off: The poverty premium 2010, London: Save the Children.

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