Millions of Brits are unaware of their day to day spending

The Momentum UK Team 27 November 2013

3.5 million people (7% of Brits) only have a vague idea of how much is in their current account, according to a new survey from thinkmoney

The results of a new survey have revealed a surprising lack of awareness in the UK around our everyday account balances and transactions. It was found that, worryingly, one in ten of us would only spot a mistaken payment of £50 when we “eventually got around to” reading our bank statements, with about 2 million people (4%) saying they might not notice it at all. Not only does this raise concerns about spotting fraud, but it indicates that people don’t notice when they are over-budget.

The research found that results varied by region: the problem was most common in the North East, with 13% of people saying they were unsure how much was in their current account - compared to just 3% in Northern Ireland.

Age differences were also highlighted. The older generation appear more conscientious about their finances: 28% of people aged over 65 said that they would notice a mistaken £50 payment as soon as their bank statement arrived. Just 15% of those aged 18-24 said the same.

Staying on top of day to day finances is always important, but particularly so in difficult economic times, when more and more families are finding that their disposable income is squeezed.

Ian Williams, director of communications at thinkmoney, said: “We all lead busy lives, and keeping up to date with our account balances can be tricky.” He went on to highlight the role that technology has to play in helping people to stay on track.

At a time when people often have multiple bank accounts with different providers, technology such as online banking and apps for mobile devices can help consumers to stay on top of their day to day transactions and on budget.

These findings are particularly relevant given that this week is the Institute for Financial Planning’s sixth annual Financial Planning Week, encouraging consumers to be more aware of their current financial situation as well as planning for the future.