September 15, 2011

UK workers not had pay rise in past year

by Kerry Butters

According to recent research carried out by credit experts Equifax, not only have 74% of consumers not had a pay rise in the past year, but they have also seen a huge rise in the amount of people checking their credit file.

The current economic climate has also meant that many people have been forced to make cuts in order to afford day to day living.

For many, this has meant they are no longer putting their cash into savings accounts or schemes.

Equifax say that this is because consumers are not really being given any incentive to save due to low interest rates and banks offering little better in the way of fixed terms and bonds.

Almost 65% of people who responded said they were saving less and just over that figure said they had cut back on making regular payments into their accounts.

“Rising living costs and a freeze on earnings for many is forcing many consumers to make some difficult decisions”, explained Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director, Equifax. “Our research seems to suggest that consumers are being left with little choice but to make cuts to their regular monthly savings.

“‘It is easy to see why consumers find it difficult to be motivated to save when rates are so low. So it is understandable that people would rather make cuts to their regular savings.”

He went on to explain that the research suggested that many people were also keeping an eye on the future with more than half of those surveyed paying off credit cards early to guard against rising interest charges.

Many people are also shopping around a lot more and using comparison sites to search for the best deals on insurance policies.

“Whilst the global economic situation is hard for some people to put into the context of their own lives, our research suggests that many consumers have a much closer control of their finances than ever before,” Monroe continued.

Additionally, the online credit checking service offered by Equifax is being accessed more and more by consumers.

“There has been a 145% increase in people using the ‘first month free’ service to access their Equifax Credit Report and a huge 237% increase in consumers checking their credit rating,” Munroe said.

“Equifax was the first credit reference agency to offer instant online access to consumer credit files and we believe this has been an important factor in increasing consumer awareness of the role of credit information as a whole.”

“As the tough economic climate continues, more consumers are recognising the importance of the credit report to gain an overview of their financial status and help them get the best deals.”

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