The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has released data showing how people’s experience of financial services differs depending on where in the UK they live. These data are the latest to be published from the regulator’s far-reaching Financial Lives study, which examined the way in which some 13,000 consumers use financial services.

Some of the key findings from the latest report include:

  • Of the UK adults who do not use the internet, 70% live in rural areas. In rural areas, only 23% of people use mobile banking, compared to 45% in urban areas; and only 54% in rural areas use internet banking, compared to 72% in urban areas; in spite of the fact that a number of rural bank branches have closed in recent years
  • 7% of adults in urban areas rely on some form of high-cost credit, compared to 5% of adults in rural areas. Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber were regions where people were more likely to take out this form of credit. People in urban areas are also more likely than their rural-dwelling counterparts to have been overdrawn in the last 12 months (27% compared to 20%) and to have an outstanding credit card debt (20% compared to 14%)
  • For 51% of retired people in rural areas, the state pension is their main source of income, however the equivalent figure for the entire UK is 44%, and for urban areas it is just 37%
  • 27% of those based in rural areas said they were ‘highly satisfied’ with their general financial circumstances, compared to 20% of people in urban areas across the UK, and just 16% of those resident in London
  • As many as 50% of adults display some signs of possible vulnerability, but this rises to 54% in rural areas and 55% in the North West of England
  • 39% of UK adults say that they trust financial advisers to act in the interests of their clients, however only 6% have actually accessed professional advice in the last 12 months. When asked to rate the honesty of the financial services industry as a whole, only 31% had a favourable view of financial firms
  • 57% of people have either no cash savings or have savings of less than £5,000. This rises to 67% of the population in Northern Ireland and 66% of people in the North East of England
  • 71% have no form of investments, rising to 78% in Northern Ireland

Andrew Bailey, FCA Chief Executive, said:

“This survey shows just how different the experience of financial services is for consumers across the country. That’s important for us, as we shape financial services policy. But it is also important for firms, as they decide how best to serve their customers.”

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article