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Even as Tech Makes it Easier, Consumers Worry Over Finances

April 11 — Results from a new study indicate that less than half of consumers are satisfied with their financial health, and almost one in three consider money management a burden. However, there is evidence that people are open to new ideas and techniques for financial knowledge and well-being.

Conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Fiserv, Expectations & Experiences: Household Finances found that of the 30 percent of consumers who think managing finances is burdensome, 59 percent see it as an obligation, and 47 percent view it as a reminder of their current financial difficulties. This may be because one in 10 consumers have taken a cash advance or short-term loan within the last year, and 38 percent reported they would have trouble or would be unable to repay a $500 loan today. In fact, consumers rated satisfaction with financial well-being (37 percent) below emotional health (54 percent), social life (45 percent) and physical health (44 percent).

Backing up the idea that consumers are searching for ways to better financial health, the use of mobile apps to track spending rose 7 percentage point from 2015, reaching 26 percent. More than twice as many early millennials (60 percent) use mobile apps to track spending. However, the use of checkbook registers fell by 5 percentage points to 44 percent, and evidence shows that baby boomers are not relying on this method of tracking finances nearly as much as previously (66 percent in 2015 vs. 57 percent in 2017).

Interest in new methods of tracking finances, such as a single online location or app, was of some interest with 34 percent of consumers (and 48 percent of millennials) reporting they would consider using such a service. However, currently, only 8 percent of consumers currently use such a service to track spending.

“Although money management remains a challenge for many households, there is an openness to new ways of doing things,” said Devin McGranahan, senior group president, billing and payments, Fiserv. “While consumers already rely on mobile access and transaction alerts, financial institutions and billing organizations can create more intelligent experiences that build loyalty, instill confidence and improve financial management through enhanced bill payment reminders, real-time payments and instant fraud alerts.”

Regarding security, respondents did show interest in solutions that both protect their information and ease the money management process. Sixty-six percent said they would be interested in a security program to safeguard mobile activity, and 56 percent indicated interest in voice, fingerprint, palm or retina biometrics, rather than traditional passwords and PINs, to verify identity when banking through mobile and online channels.

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