19.4 million Britons unprepared for the financial storm

July 7, 2020 | London, UK | By Suman Hughes

Digital and financial exclusion leaves many in the dark about their future, new campaign launched to help people prepare

  • 61% of Brits who accessed government relief are worried about what will happen next
  • Over a quarter (27%) do not know how to access any online guidance for their finances and of these, nearly a quarter (23%) feel overwhelmed about where to look
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of those that are not financially prepared for the future, are struggling with their finances, according to YouGov research
  • New coalition of organisations offering Brits support to take control of their finances


The coronavirus pandemic has left 37% of Brits feeling in the dark about their financial future, as 19.4 million say they are not prepared for an economic downturn. This is even more prevalent for those with a household income of less than £15,000 a year, where the figure rises to more than half (53%) of those surveyed saying they are not financially prepared.

Those in Gen-Z (49%) and Millennials (49%) are the least likely to be financially prepared for a potential economic downturn, with 44% of Gen X feeling the pressures too. Baby Boomers have their future finances more under control with 73% feeling prepared.

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

Over a quarter (27%) of Brits do not know how to access any online guidance for their finances and of these a third (36%) say it is because they don’t know where to look while almost a quarter (23%) say they find it overwhelming.

Mastercard is addressing these issues alongside a coalition of partners with the campaign, ‘Leave Nobody in The Dark.’ Alongside Good Things Foundation, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, The APLE Collective, Clean Slate Training & Employment CIC, the campaign provides 1-2-1 support, access to digital and the skills, confidence and support to use it to be better off and a digital hub, nobodyinthedark.co.uk to bring guidance together for Brits to easily source and navigate.

Kelly Devine, Division President, Mastercard UK & Ireland commented: “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. 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.”

In the past three months, the YouGov research found, 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 by turning off lights, plug switches and not using heating.

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%) of Brits plan to seek guidance on budgets and re-payments. Amongst those who will seek guidance, 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.



 Notes to editors

The Leave Nobody in the Dark campaign is supported by Mastercard Impact Fund, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The Good Things Foundation is collaborating with Mastercard, Clean Slate/QuidsIn!, APLE Collective and community partners on an emergency response to reduce digital and financial exclusion. Together we aim to support 800 people (DevicesDotNow), 525 people (provision of digital financial support) and to reach 1.6 million people who are financially and digitally underserved (directing them to resources on nobodyinthedark.co.uk).

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,054 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 24th - 25th June 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).


Suman Hughes