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Covid-19 money worries impacting mental wellbeing

Wednesday 20 May 2020 11:13 CET | News

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24 May), new research from the Open Up 2020 Challenge has revealed money worries are negatively impacting the mental health of a quarter (23%) of the population. 

In fact, one in five (21%) say financial stress is having a bigger impact on their mental wellbeing than physical health concerns during the covid-19 crisis.

A quarter (25%) are more stressed about money than usual and 16% say financial worries are negatively affecting relationships with friends and family, although this almost doubles among 35-44 year olds (31%). Indeed, men in this age range with dependent children are some of the most likely to be struggling with their mental health because of financial concerns. They are significantly more likely to be more stressed about money than usual (49% vs 25%), or say that that money is having a bigger impact than physical health on their wellbeing (46% vs 21%). Worryingly, 42% of this group have lost sleep over money since the crisis began (more than double the national average of 19%).

The nation is also very concerned about the impact of money troubles on their loved ones’ mental health with four in ten (38%) worried about this. This concern increases when asked about those with existing mental health problems or cognitive impairments, as previous Open Up 2020 research found half (51%) fear vulnerable friends and family falling victim to scammers exploiting the pandemic.

Two apps which are designed specifically to support people with existing mental health or cognitive issues manage their money and stay safe are:

  • Kalgera – a personal finance platform for older or vulnerable people with cognitive impairments. Kalgera uses neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence to detect and predict financial vulnerability to help prevent fraud, alerting a trusted friend or family member.
  • Toucan – helps people who need extra help managing their money because of impairments like mental illness or dementia. The app allows users to securely share spending alerts or financial information with someone they trust, typically a carer, to get timely support.

In addition, there are a range of apps that help people improve their budgeting and money management, ensuring people have one less thing to worry about: 

  • Cleo – a financial assistant with a sense of humour, personality and intelligence that is already empowering over 3 million customers to reach their financial goals through tips on spending, budgeting and saving.
  • Moneyhub – a financial management platform that empowers people to do more with their money by offering actionable insights from a review of all of someone’s accounts.
  • Plum – a free app that sorts all the tricky parts of money management. Plum automatically saves small amounts every few days, finds better deals on bills, offers spending insights and invests savings to help people be better off over their lifetime.

All of these solutions are finalists in the Open Up 2020 Challenge, run by Nesta Challenges in partnership with the Open Banking Implementation Entity. There are 15 finalists in total which have already received GBP 50,000 in funding in addition to non-financial support to further develop their product and enable them to reach and help even more people across the UK. Kalgera and Toucan were each also awarded an additional GBP 50,000 owing to their focus on financial inclusion. Between three and four finalists will go on to be named winners in October 2020, receiving a further GBP 150,000-200,000 each so they can help even more people to manage their money.

Opinium, on behalf of Nesta Challenges, interviewed 2,002 UK adults between 1st and 4th May 2020. Additional statistic on scammers was taken from an Opinium survey of 2,002 adults between 31st March and 3rd April 2020. Data has been weighted to nationally representative standards.

Open Up 2020 is run by Nesta Challenges and backed by the Open Banking Implementation Entity as part of the UK's open banking agenda.

Open Up 2020 is designed and timed to boost consumer awareness and adoption of open banking-enabled products by providing 15 fintechs with up to GBP 300k each, promoting their products in a national digital awareness campaign, and offering expert non-financial support so they can accelerate their solutions. 


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Keywords: COVID-19, mental wellbeing, Open Up 2020 Challenge, banking, Open Banking, apps, fintech, financial management
Categories: Banking & Fintech | Payments General
Countries: United Kingdom
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech