10% fail to make the grade in Abbey’s personal finance test

23 August 2007
A new study from Abbey Current Accounts has shown that as many as 4.7 million, or one-in-ten, adults in the UK would score under 40 per cent in what it refers to as a simple personal finance examination.

Head of banking at Abbey, Steve Shore, commented: “While most people are in the realms of a GCSE pass, almost five million British adults would fail a simple personal finance exam.”

The company asked 1031 adults 10 questions from a past examination paper, with the difficulty rating of a modern GCSE. The results have deliberately been launched in the GCSE results week in order to emphasise the lack of basic personal finance knowledge in the UK.

The results indicate that 25 per cent of participants scored an A*, while 30 per cent achieved an A. 21 per cent would have passed with a B and 13% only managed a C grade. According to Abbey, anyone with a bank account should have been able to answer these questions and it describes the results as “worrying”.

The average score for adults was a B (60 per cent), with average scores the same for both genders - although two per cent more females scored an A* than males.

86% of respondents were unaware they had six weeks to repay a credit card before it starts accruing interest and terms that caused confusion included “negative equity”, “UC” (Unpaid Cheque), “secured loan” and “hire purchase”.

Mr Shore commended the government’s recently announced plans to add financial education to the national curriculum.

“Government plans to introduce personal finance skills into the Maths GCSE should certainly be welcomed by 18- to 24-year-olds, since they fared worst with an average score of 50 per cent – the equivalent to a GCSE grade C,” he said.

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