The average Brit has more than 30 financial accounts or contracts according to new research from comparison website Gocompare.
People spend a typical two hours every week managing their accounts, which cover everything from online banking and shopping to entertainment subscriptions, social media accounts, webmail and gym membership. For 8% administration eats up more than five hours a week.
It is perhaps unsurprising therefore, that almost a third of people (31%) say having so many passwords and contracts is stressful, while 28% compared managing their personal affairs to a full time job. One in five (21%) said that they felt they had lost track of contracts and accounts, while 38% stated they had no system for keeping track of their online accounts.
The survey asked more than 2,000 people how they managed their accounts. It emerged that over a third used multiple passwords across a variety of accounts while more than 54% keep a written note detailing all their passwords and PINs. One in four rely on websites’ ‘forgotten password’ tab to get into their accounts.
Matt Sanders, head of money at Gocompare.com, says: “From our research it’s clear that many people feel that they are drowning under the weight of managing their personal and money-related affairs. While the move to online account management has made things such as entertainment and banking much more accessible, it has significantly increased the number of accounts we all hold and the log-ins, passwords and monthly payments we have to remember.
“New technology has also presented a range of opportunities for cybercriminals - scamming people out of their personal details and money through increasingly sophisticated means. One in 10 people who took part in our survey said that they had an online account hacked, while 12% said they had been a victim of a financial fraud. This means that it’s essential that you make the time to manage both your offline and online accounts to ensure that your personal data is safe and secure.”
Protect yourself from cybercriminals
Mr Sanders adds: “There are some simple precautions you can take to protect against cybercriminals. First off, always password or PIN protect your PC, smartphone, laptop and other mobile devices. Choose strong passwords and PINs and avoid using the same ones for all your accounts and payment cards. Never use the same passwords for social media sites and online banking. If you feel you must write down your passwords and PINs, encrypt them so only you can understand them. Always log-off when you complete an online transaction.
“Regularly check financial statements, such as your bank or credit card statement, and be on the lookout for unusual or unauthorised transactions or charges from subscriptions you’ve forgotten to cancel. Generally speaking, it’s worth closing old accounts that you no-longer need as this will not only help guard against fraud, but may also help your credit score.”