News

Reputation of fintech staggeringly low with only 8% of consumers positive

Mike Robb

Most people in the UK have no idea what fintech is, let alone having a positive or negative attitude towards it. The question for the much-hyped sector: Does this low level of public awareness actually matter?

An overwhelming majority of people in the UK have no idea about whether the reputation of fintech is positive or negative, strongly suggesting a general lack of understanding of what the industry is.

That’s according to new research commissioned by MHP Communications and conducted by Populus into the reputation of the financial services industry, which found that 87 per cent do not have a view on fintech’s reputation. This contradicts the general sentiment in the industry that fintech is fundamentally changing the way consumers view financial services.

Just 8 per cent said they had a positive view towards the reputation of fintech, not much more than the 5 per cent who actively saw it as negative

The research found greater awareness among 25 to 34-year-olds, with one-in-five (20 per cent) thinking fintech has a good reputation and ‘don’t knows’ dropping to 75 per cent. Over the age of 55, a huge 96 per cent did not know about fintech.

As the UK’s fintech hub and a major global centre, London was unsurprisingly the most aware region, with the ‘don’t know’ figure at 76 per cent, with 17 per cent positive and 7 per cent negative. In other regions, however, awareness remained extremely low, with those responding ‘don’t know’ above 90 per cent in Scotland, the North East, North West, Yorkshire & Humberside, South East and South West.

These findings highlight the fact that fintech needs to be mindful of its own bubble and are a stark reminder that the industry must not forget the consumers it is seeking to talk to

While this will certainly come as a shock to fintech evangelists, these numbers reiterate the fact that consumers simply want financial services to make their lives easier, provide better customer service, increased transparency and accessibility. Many fintech firms are undoubtedly delivering this but it is an important reminder that consumers do not differentiate between a 200-year-old bank with a new app and a 1-year-old provider that is doing things entirely differently.

A decade on from the financial crisis, MHP Communications is launching its Financial Services Reputation Index on 21 February to look at how the reputation of financial services has changed in the years since. The report will look at the reputation of the industry as a whole, as well as sub-sectors including banking, insurance, asset management, pension funds and others.

A launch event is being held at MHP’s offices near Trafalgar Square with speakers including Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank, Paul Lewis, Editor of Money Box, and Sir Mark Boleat from the City of London Corporation.

Those wishing to attend should contact mhp.events@mhpc.com.

Populus surveyed 1,089 adults online from across the UK. Fieldwork took place between 31st January and 1st February 2018. The data has been taken from nationally representative omnibus surveys and has been weighted to the profile of the population. Base sizes in some regions were fewer than 100; Scotland (98), North East (44) and South West (88). Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at www.populus.co.uk.