Consumers struggling to save, leaving them vulnerable to unexpected bills
According to new data* from Equifax, the number of consumers feeling very confident about the finances dipped to 41% in March 2016, down from 45% in February and 42% in January. The new YouGov research, which the credit information provider will be conducting throughout 2016, also reveals that consumers are saving less.
Equifax has committed to conducting the YouGov research throughout the year to monitor trends in financial confidence as well as attitudes to savings. The first Quarterly Report reveals that the year started off with 42% of individuals feeling that on a scale of 0 to 10, they were “10 – very confident” about their financial commitments. In February this had risen to 45% but in March consumers felt a bit more uncertain, with just 41% saying they were very confident about being able to afford their monthly commitments. However, consumer financial confidence in the first three months of 2016 appears stronger than in 2015, with only 35% of those surveyed by YouGov saying they felt very confident about their financial commitments six months ago.
According to the Equifax commissioned survey, consumer financial confidence does not necessarily translate into making regular savings. Nearly a third (31%) of people surveyed in March said they don’t save any money during an average month – up from 29% in January and February. And when asked about their disposable income at the end of the month, in March 19% said they don’t think they will have any money left to spend or save, after their bills and other outgoings. This was the same in January and 18% in February.
The YouGov research also reveals some interesting differences between men and women when it comes to financial confidence. Just 36% of women said they felt very confident about their finances in March, compared to 45% of men, and women are the least likely to save, at 34% compared to 25% of men. More women than men also think they won’t have any disposable income at the end of the month at 21% and 16% respectively.
Lisa Hardstaff, Equifax credit information expert, comments,
“Although consumer confidence has dipped slightly, in March, it’s still higher than it was six months ago, which is good to see. However, with nearly a third saying they don’t make any savings, this could leave them vulnerable if they are hit by an unexpected bill, such as car or home repairs.
“With 9% of people surveyed in March saying they are planning to take out some form of credit this year, it’s important that consumers check their credit report as well as their financial accounts, before making any applications. That way they can assess their overall financial commitments and look at what factors may impact their ability to obtain the best deals.”
Customers can sign up to the Equifax Credit Report with their first 30 days free via www.equifax.co.uk/Products/credit/credit-report. If customers do not cancel before the end of the 30 Day Free Trial, the service will continue at £9.95 per month, giving them unlimited online access to their credit information and weekly alerts on any changes to their credit file. It also includes an online dispute facility to help them correct any errors on their credit file simply and quickly.
*Equifax Consumer Confidence Index- All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2000+ adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between January-March 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
Equifax is a global leader in consumer, commercial and workforce information solutions that provide businesses of all sizes and consumers with insight and information they can trust. Equifax organizes and assimilates data on more than 600 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide. The company’s significant investments in differentiated data, its expertise in advanced analytics to explore and develop new multi-source data solutions, and its leading-edge proprietary technology enable it to create and deliver unparalleled customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 19 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. In 2015, Forbes named Equifax one of the World’s 100 Most Innovative companies; Bloomberg BusinessWeek nominated it as one of its Top 50 companies; its CIO was named one of the top 100 by CIO magazine; the company ranked 16th in the Fintech 100 list; and it was recognized as a top 20 company to work for by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was named a 2015 InformationWeek Elite 100 Winner.