Seven in 10 UK adults have been contacted by a claims management firm without permission in the past year, new data from the financial regulator shows.

The Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) Financial Lives survey - which questioned around 13,000 adults - found that 69% of the UK's adult population have been contacted by a claims firm via telephone, text or email to ask them to make a compensation claim.

The survey also shows that almost six in 10 (57%) of UK adults have no cash savings or savings of less than £5,000, and that 3% don’t have a bank account.

It also highlighted several divides between rural and urban areas of the UK, such as of the adults who never use the internet, 70% live in rural areas, and the take up of mobile banking in rural areas (23%) is nearly half of those in urban areas (45%).

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You can claim for free

Despite the data showing that 69% of UK adults have been contacted by a claims management company without asking, in most situations, you don't need one to make a claim.

You can claim for compensation for things such as flight delays or PPI by yourself, and that way, you'll keep all of the money, instead of having a company take a chunk in commission.

The free online tool Resolver takes the hassle out of making a complaint by helping you draft a letter, send it, monitor replies and then escalate it to an ombudsman or complaints body if it's not sorted.

See our guide Resolver – How to use the free complaints tool for more information.

What else did the survey find?

The key findings of the FCA's survey can be seen below. Many of the findings relate to the different experiences those in rural and urban areas of the UK have, in relation to their finances.

  • 3% of UK adults don't have a bank account – of all those that don't have a bank, 20% are in London, 14% in the north west, 12% in the West Midlands and 11% in Scotland.
  • Older adults and those suffering from long term health conditions are more likely to have difficulty getting to banks in rural areas – in rural areas, a higher than average proportion of adults (13%) aged 55 and over, or who are younger and have a long-term health condition, have difficulty getting to a bank. This compares to 9% in urban areas.
  • 57% of UK adults have no cash savings or savings of less than £5,000 - this is true for two thirds of adults in Northern Ireland (67%) and the north east of England (66%), but for only half (52%) of adults in the east of England and in the south east.
  • The take up of mobile banking in rural areas is much lower than in urban areas - the take up in rural areas (23%) is nearly half that in urban areas (45%).
  • There is a higher concentration of adults with high-cost loans in urban areas - 7% of those in urban areas have high-cost loans compared to 5% in rural areas. Adults’ average unsecured debt is £3,600 in urban areas, compared with £2,510 in rural locations. Those paying for credit are more likely to be in urban areas (49%) compared with rural areas (37%).
  • Over half of retired people in rural areas rely on the state pension – 51% of retired people in rural areas mainly rely on the state pension as their main income, compared to 37% in urban areas.
  • Satisfaction with overall financial circumstances is higher in rural areas - 27% of adults in rural areas are highly satisfied, compared with 20% of adults in urban areas. Satisfaction in London is particularly low with just 16% being highly satisfied with their finances, compared to the national average of 21%.

What does the FCA say?

Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA, said: “This survey shows just how different the experience of financial services is for consumers across the country.

That’s important for us, as we shape financial services policy. But it is also important for firms, as they decide how best to serve their customers."

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