LONDON, Oct. 30, 2019 – This Halloween, new research from Ford Money has revealed that one in 10 (9 per cent) of UK savers have experienced a fright after discovering savings in long-forgotten accounts. Equating to almost 5 million UK adults, this includes both those who have found money in an unused account (7 per cent) or in one that has been declared dormant by their provider (4 per cent).
According to Ford Money’s findings, savers have rediscovered an average of £1,528 in savings per person in forgotten accounts. This equates to an estimated total of £7.4 billion of forgotten cash across the UK, with individuals leaving their savings untouched for an average of over four years.
Dubbed the ‘zombie’ savers, of those who uncovered forgotten cash, a third (39 per cent) said they had failed to keep track of their savings on a regular basis.
However, Ford Money’s research reveals these are not the only frightful situations in which savers are finding themselves. In fact, 41 per cent found themselves stuck in a ‘nightmare’ when it comes to saving, with the most common pitfall being using their current accounts as savings accounts.
Almost a quarter (24 per cent) admitted to having used a current account as their savings account, with 12 per cent of this group saying savings accounts are too difficult to understand and a further 15 per cent stating they simply “did not know what else to do”.
“Our research revealed that almost one in five (18 per cent) savers find products too difficult to understand and can often forget about some of their savings accounts. In some cases, this confusion has resulted in consumers depositing all their cash into a single current account, without opening a separate savings account earning that earns a better interest rate,” said Suzanne Lewsley, Ford Money’s chief deposits officer.
“Greater clarity and simplicity of products is important, as well as more proactive consumer self-education. This will help savers avoid sleepwalking into a nightmare and miss out on the interest rates and products that will allow them to make the most out of their money.”
The research found that when asked what situations savers would find the most irritating, however, ‘forgotten money’ did not come top. Almost half (48 per cent) of savers stated that a surprise fee or withdrawal charge was most likely to give them a fright. In fact, this topped the list of most irritating potential savings nightmares, closely followed by the lowering of interest rates without warning (46 per cent) and receiving a reduced interest rate due to their account being declared inactive (28 per cent).