Oct 25, 2017

FCA survey: half of UK adults are financially vulnerable

The UK’s financial regulatory body, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), have published their first and largest survey into consumers’ use of financial services. The report reveals that 50% of UK adults (25.6 million) display one or more characteristics that signal their potential vulnerability.

“Potential vulnerability” is defined by the FCA as the potential to be “at increased risk of harm, or to suffer disproportionately if harm occurred”. It does not mean that all people with these characteristics suffer harm.


UK adults FCA survey


By collecting information about the financial products consumers use and their attitudes to managing their money, the survey “tells the financial story” of six different age groups.

The age groups are:

  • 18-24 [17% over-indebted, 52% show characteristics of potential vulnerability]
  • 25-34 [ 23% over-indebted, 47% show characteristics of potential vulnerability]
  • 35-44 [21% over-indebted, 46% show characteristics of potential vulnerability]
  • 45-54 [16% over-indebted, 48% show characteristics of potential vulnerability]
  • 55-64 [11% over-indebted, 46% show characteristics of potential vulnerability]
  • 65+ [4% over-indebted, 60% show characteristics of potential vulnerability]

The survey further explores consumers based on access, confidence, satisfaction, credit and debit, consumers who are ‘in difficulty’, consumer understanding and decision-making.

Vulnerability & access

  • Nearly half (47%) of those who rent in the UK would struggle to pay their rent if payments went up by less than £100 per month.
  • A minimum of 4.5 million UK adults have been declined a financial product in the last two years.


  • The report claims that 24% of UK adults say that they have little or no confidence in managing their money.
  • Nearly half (46%) of all UK adults claim to possess low knowledge about financial matters.


  • The 18-24 age group is the least satisfied with their financial circumstances; 60% have low satisfaction.
  • Satisfaction increases with age. The survey reveals that only 21% of those aged 75 and over have low satisfaction.

Credit & debit

  • Three quarters of adults (75%) have had one or more consumer credit products or loans in the last 12 months

Explore the survey in detail at the FCA website.


FCA UK adults survey financial living


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