Low interest rates is top banking issue for over 80s
Published on 12 March 2014 12:01 AM
Better interest rates top banking wish list for people in their eighties and above.
The top banking issue for people in their eighties and over is current low interest rates according to an Age UK survey[i], hotly followed by access to bank branches.
The survey found that 37 percent - more than one in three - of people aged 80 and older want better rates on their savings accounts. The findings, just days after the fifth anniversary of the Bank of England's decision to cut interest rates (or base rate of inflation) to 0.5 percent, underline the importance for this age group of making the most of their savings. At a time of rising energy and fuel bills, savings may be the only source of income beyond the state pension for many in their eighties and above.
The Age UK survey also highlights the continued importance of the branch network to older people. 79 percent of those aged 80 and over still have their main account with the branch of a high street bank or building society, with only five per cent using an online account. Even for over 50s as a whole, only seven percent use an online account as their main account.
The survey comes on the eve of the Charity's summit on financial resilience among those aged 80 and over. Financial resilience enables people to withstand challenges that may crop up in later life. Despite being the fastest growing sector of the population, those aged 80 and over are often overlooked in terms of financial services. Age UK's survey reveals that only 20 percent of those aged 80 and over feel they get a personal service from their bank or building society.
The summit is part of the Charity's Financial Services Commission and was inspired by Lord Filkin's report last year which warned that Government and society are "woefully unprepared for the UK's ageing population." The Commission brings together Government and leading industry figures and is consulting with older people on ways to build up financial resilience and prepare for later life. The first summit in December 2013 focused on how to help those approaching retirement build up adequate savings. The second in February looked at those who have recently retired. The third and final summit takes place in London on March 18th.
Age UK Group Chief Executive Tom Wright said, "There are 1.4 million people in the UK aged 85 and over and the number is expected to double in the next twenty years. Yet the financial services sector is not geared up to recognise the importance of this group of people who currently account for £121 billion of spending a year. It's time to change that and ensure that like the rest of the population, the financial services industry treats our older people as the valuable customers that they are."
Dr Alexander Scott, Chief Executive of the Chartered Insurance Institute and Co-Chair of the Financial Services Commission said, "Responding to this challenge will call for some innovative solutions from the sector, including a fundamental rethink in terms of categorising and offering products and services to suit this changing market. Whereas now the sector views its offerings in terms of specific classes of products: current accounts, mortgages, savings, investments, and equity release; customers at this stage in life experience them in much less clearly defined ways. Developing this new approach is going to need a cross-cutting discussion, and so this group representing different parts of the sector is a good place to start."
The commission will launch its findings on 25th June.
Media contact: Mallary Gelb
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Notes to editors
- Financial Services Commission Omnibus Study carried out by TNS Global. 1120 people aged 50 plus surveyed in UK from 7/2/14-16/2/14
For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.
We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to well over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI and our local Age UK partners in England (together the Age UK Family). We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).