LONDON, November 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
In advance of the fuel price hike next week (10 November) from the last of the Big Six energy companies, research from the Payments Council shows that UK over-65s could save hundreds by taking advantage of money management measures to help prepare their finances for the winter.
For every 1% rise in energy bills, an extra 40,000 households enter fuel poverty. Over 3.5 million older people already live in fuel poverty in the UK. Every year, more than 30,000 older people die from preventable causes over the winter months.
Many over 65s are savvier than their younger counterparts about some money management measures: with 79% knowledgeable of energy efficiency grants compared with just 57% of the overall population; and 87% having loft insulation compared with 71% of the overall population. However, there were several areas where older people could be saving money and hassle this winter:
- Less than a quarter of older people are using telephone banking, helping ensure they can safely manage their finances when icy conditions set in. Only 31% of current account holders over 65 use internet banking, compared with 61% of under 65s
- 84% pay off their credit card in full (more than any other age group), however about 60% don't clear this bill by direct debits - which can help ensure no late fees and penalties, lower interest rates and potentially avoid any interest charges
- 38% have not checked if they are on the best rate for their utility bills in the past year - changing tariff could save in the region of £310 per year
- Around 40% aren't aware how to reclaim money if they have overpaid a utility company
Esther Rantzen CBE, encouraging more people aged 65 and over to prepare their finances for the winter, said:
"Winter can be a particularly difficult time for people financially. Christmas is coming, fuel bills are higher than ever this year and older people in particular are vulnerable to fuel poverty and a heightened risk of falling ill. But it doesn't need to be a time for worry. If every single one of us is well-informed about being prepared for the winter financially, we can make choices that will help us survive the winter - and save time, money and hassle at the same time."
Sandra Quinn, Payments Council Corporate Communications Director, said:
"Getting a flu jab isn't the only thing older people should think about to prepare for winter, you should also think about protecting your finances too; that's why we're urging people to go to our website to find out more."
Find out more about how to prepare yourself financially: http://www.payyourway.org.uk or contact your bank to find out how to get started with telephone and internet banking.
You can pick up a Pay YOUR Way leaflet from your local Citizen's Advice Bureau.
1. Fuel Poverty Advisory Group
2. Age UK
3. Payments Council data, 2010
4. UK Consumer Payments 2010 (Payments Council)
SOURCE Payments Council