Free Fivers Go Unclaimed By Cynical Brits

By: Steve Smith

A new stunt designed to illustrate the extent of many Briton's unwillingness to improve their financial situation has shown very few consumers on the streets of London and Manchester were willing to capitalise on the offer of a free five pound note.

Price comparison service moneysupermarket organised the campaign to demonstrate the financial inertia that is evident among many Britons. Wandering the streets of the two cities yesterday, the group encountered around 1,800 consumers while donning a sandwich board offering the free notes. However, despite this prominent display of free financial assistance, just 28 passersby took the time to take up the offer.

The group asserted that even when people did claim their prize, interest remained unsparked among many onlookers.

"This exercise reveals a fundamental inertia which is stopping people from making sensible financial decisions ... This was a completely genuine, no strings attached offer. People simply had to approach the sandwich board wearer and ask for a fiver. If more than 98 per cent of the people who passed by couldn't be bothered to do that, it raises some interesting questions about what needs to be done to persuade people to make an effort to improve their financial position," said Tim Moss, head of loans and debt at moneysupermarket.

Males were seen to be more intrepid in making a claim for the free cash, with all but seven of those who took the reward in Manchester said to be men. This finding was backed up by research carried out by the group which showed that while 41 per cent of men suggested they would not claim the money if it was on offer, nearly two-thirds of women (64 per cent) said they would decline.

When asked the reasons behind the decision not to take up the free money, six in ten said cynicism would hold them back from approaching the small-scale philanthropist. Meanwhile, one in ten said they would be too embarrassed, while three per cent said they did not think five pounds was a high enough sum for it to be worth the effort.

Offering advice to Britons who seem unwilling to improve their financial situation, the group suggests that credit ratings should "be protected like the crown jewels". It encourages consumers to make sure electoral roll details are correct and ensure that payments on items such as personal loans and credit cards are carried out on time. For those who have had their access to loans restricted due to a poor credit history, taking out a bad credit loan may be of assistance. In choosing this sort of lending product, people may find they are able to meet the rising cost of living more easily.

Getting a current account that pays more than five per cent in interest is also recommended as a prudent course of action for many Britons, with the group suggesting that the majority of consumers have an account that pays out 0.1 per cent or less. Obtaining a credit card which offers zero per cent on purchases for at least nine months is also suggested. However, for those who have found it increasingly difficult to obtain backing due to an unfavourable financial history, taking out a bad credit loan may prove useful.

Taking out an adverse credit loan may also be an advisable course of action for a growing number of people after research demonstrated that average loan rates are continuing to rise despite efforts to cut interest. According to findings from MoneyExpert released in May, the average rate for a loan of between 5,000 and 7,000 pounds has increased by an average of one per cent in the past six months.

Insurance
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Insurance