5. Access to financial products

The number of people ‘unbanked’ has reached its lowest level ever and some financial institutions are playing a major role to support financial inclusion, including the Co-operative bank; Clydesdale and Yorkshire: Nationwide; and Lloyds Banking Group.  But there are still over a million people without a transactional bank account. And some financial institutions could be doing much more.

5.1 The number of people ‘unbanked’ that is, without a transactional bank account, continued to decline further in 2018, reaching the lowest levels we have seen.  However, there are still just over a million people who lack access to their own transactional bank account. 

Nearly half this group live in households where someone else had an account but this still means that just over half a million people neither have an account themselves nor have access to one in their household.

Source: Family Resources Survey

5.2  Fee-free basic bank accounts offer people various services, including direct debits, without the risk of running up overdraft charges. According to HM Treasury, in June 2018, there were 7.5 million basic bank accounts open with the top 9 financial institutions offering personal current accounts. 

Some of these institutions offer more basic bank accounts than would be expected from their total market share of current accounts including: Co-operative bank; Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank; Nationwide; and Lloyds Banking Group.  Others offer far fewer basic bank accounts than we would expect, including Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays.