Mastercard looks to help Brits with any financial issues

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Mastercard has launched a new initiative aimed at providing one-to-one support for British consumers who fear digital and financial exclusion in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Along with personal support, The Leave Nobody in the Dark campaign will be helping people get more knowledge and a better understanding of digital skills, with guidance on where to look for online assistance.

According to a survey carried out by YouGov in June, the coronavirus pandemic has left 37% of Brits feeling in the dark about their financial future and 19.4 million say they are not prepared for an economic downturn. Households with an income of less than £15,000 a year fare even worse, with 53% saying that they're not ready for the looming recession.

Similarly, the survey revealed that Gen-Z (49%) and Millennials (49%) are the least likely to be ready financially for the economic downturn. Baby Boomers, however, report that they have their future finances more under control with 73% feeling prepared. 

Financial hardship

Worringly, over half (54%) of people in the UK who say they aren’t financially prepared claim they do not have enough, if any, savings to support themselves in the near future. Nearly a third (27%) say they have a reduced income due to COVID and a further 24% say they are already struggling with their finances.

A lack of relevant guidance, and not knowing where to find help, is cited by many as a big issue. Over a quarter (27%) of Brits do not know how to access any online guidance for their finances and over a third (36%) say it's because they don’t know where to look. Almost a quarter (23%) stated that they find the issue overwhelming. 

We are working with our partners to help support the nation to become financially prepared following the economic effects of COVID-19. Together we aim to help people better understand and manage their finances, both for today and in preparation for the future," said Kelly Devine, Division President, Mastercard UK & Ireland.

"There are millions of people struggling in the UK and there has never been a more crucial time to ensure people have access to digital services and resources they need.”

The Leave Nobody in the Dark campaign is a collective effort between Mastercard, the Good Things Foundation, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, The APLE Collective and Clean Slate Training & Employment CIC.

In the past three months, the YouGov research found that 15% of Brits turned to the government for payment support relief. Of these, more than three in five (61%), are worried about what will happen next as this comes to an end. Over a third (35%) are relying on their income returning to normal, over a quarter (26%) plan to use savings and 15% will ask for an extension payment plan.

Those that are already trying to prepare themselves have been cutting down on non-necessity items/goods (50%), 37% have cut down on food wastage and a third have been more conscious about utility bills, with many taking measures to reduce consumption.

Almost half (45%) of Brits have become more aware of their finances as a result of the pandemic and over the next six months. Nearly a fifth (17%) will seek guidance on budgets and re-payments. The top three places Brits plan to turn to are their parents (43%), websites run by charities and councils (40%) and 30% will turn to banks or building societies.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.