72 percent of UK adults have not heard of open banking

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Research from YouGov shows 72 percent of UK adults have not heard of open banking, with young people particularly in the dark

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Open banking has been enforced in the UK for more than six months now, but public awareness is still lagging, with YouGov research showing that 72 percent of adults in the country have not heard of it.

The research, which asked 2,074 adults in the UK if they had heard of the term 'open banking', reflects how the scheme and all of its potential benefits to consumers has yet to infiltrate the mainstream.

In short, open banking is UK legislation which forces the big banks to open up customer's financial data so that they may share it with third party providers if they want to, for things like account aggregation or to power comparison services.

Read next: What is open banking?

More worryingly perhaps is that YouGov also found that young people are the least aware of open banking, with just 14 percent of 18-24 year-olds aware of open banking.

This audience, which many would consider more digitally savvy than the over-55 demographic (39 percent awareness), will need to be targeted better if open banking is to prove a lasting success for consumers.

YouGov also found that the more affluent ABC1 group are more aware of open banking with 35 percent having heard of the term, while those in the CD2E group were at just 18 percent.

Read next: Open banking after six months: what's changed?

It could be argued that an overall 28 percent awareness factor is a positive for such a new and, frankly, dry piece of financial regulation.

Commenting on the research, Frank Jan Risseeuw, CEO at UK fintech company Yolt said: "The fact that 28 percent of consumers are aware of such a new piece of banking legislation is encouraging. The focus must now be on ensuring that consumers understand the true value of open banking."

This can only be achieved by firms like Yolt however, which has created an app for customers to better manage their money, whichever provider their current account or credit card is held with.

"Customers who manage their finances through open banking will be able to access more genuinely personalised products and services," Risseeuw added. "By allowing users to have all of their different accounts and products in one place – as they can with Yolt – people will really start to see how open banking can impact their lives."

In terms of the potential benefits of open banking, those who understood the term said that account aggregation would be the biggest benefit at 20 percent, with money management at eight percent and choosing the right account and account management each coming in at seven percent.

Read next: How UK fintech startups are preparing for open banking

The only major bank so far to create an app for its customers to hold all of their accounts in a single app is HSBC with the Connected Money app. UK challenger banks like Monzo and Starling bank have built their services to enable this sort of activity.

YouGov found a massive 77 percent were nervous about sharing their financial data, with just six percent feeling totally confident in the mechanism while 16 percent were unsure, all of which suggest significant barriers to adoption.

Another barrier is general satisfaction with their existing bank, with 63 percent saying they were satisfied with their existing supplier, hinting towards a more general resistance to change in the UK retail banking sector - the well-worn anecdote is that you are more likely to get divorced than to change bank in your lifetime.

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