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How well do we understand financial terms? Not well, according a new study

Most applications are done online, or a person can apply in person at the lender’s branches.

The Israel-based NSO Group, which owns Pegasus, claims the software is only sold to government agencies to target criminals and terrorists
The Israel-based NSO Group, which owns Pegasus, claims the software is only sold to government agencies to target criminals and terrorists - Copyright AFP Money SHARMA
The Israel-based NSO Group, which owns Pegasus, claims the software is only sold to government agencies to target criminals and terrorists - Copyright AFP Money SHARMA

With rising everyday costs and interest rates, it is now more important than ever to be savvy about personal finances. Yet some people are more familiar with certain areas of finance over others (and some are in the dark altogether).

In terms of understanding financial products, which areas of finance are U.K. citizens most unsure of?

A study by money.co.uk analysed Google search data to reveal the most commonly asked finance questions those based in the U.K. are seeking online. The outcome of this assessment is:

The top 10 most commonly asked financial questions

RankQuestionCategoryAnnual searches
1Which credit card is best?Credit cards2,307,000
2How to apply for a credit card?Credit cards2,160,000
3How to calculate tax UK?Tax2,106,000
4What is a balance transfer credit card?Credit cards1,665,000
5How to save money?Saving1,222,500
6How is loan interest calculated?Loans1,167,000
7When is tax due?Tax1,022,100
8How much mortgage can I afford?Loans1,006,500
9When to repay student loan?Loans937,000
10What is a bank?Saving834,000

The financial literacy question that gets Googled the most is “which credit card is best?”, with over 2.3 million annual searches. Finding the right credit card depends on an individual’s personal circumstances.

A large purchase might require an interest-free credit card, whereas if you want to cut the interest you pay on your credit card debt, a 0 percent balance transfer credit card might be better.

“How to apply for a credit card” comes in second, with just under 2.2 million people a year searching the term. To apply for a credit card a person will need to meet certain criteria set out by the lender, so you’ll probably want to check your credit score before applying and improve it if necessary.

If someone is eligible, then applying for a credit card is actually quite easy. Most applications are done online, or a person can apply in person at the lender’s branches.

With just over 2.1 million searches, “How to calculate tax UK?” comes in third. GOV.UK has a calculator that will demonstrates how much income tax a person should pay for the current tax year.

With other search terms, “How to get a mortgage?” has seen the biggest increase in searches over the past 12 months, with a 353 percent difference.

Not everyone is happy with the decisions taken. For example, the survey additionally finds that 64.45 percent of Brits have taken out a financial product without fully understanding how it works. Moreover, of those who took out finance without fully understanding how it works, 62.55 percent regretted it.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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