Belfast Telegraph

Awareness of money protection rises

Awareness among consumers that their money is protected if their bank goes bust is improving amid a £3 million publicity drive, the savings safety net has found.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which has produced a new online tool to make it easier for savers check if their money is protected, found that 54% of consumers are aware of the scheme, up from 47% in April.

In August, it emerged that Sherlock Holmes actor Benedict Cumberbatch had voiced radio adverts as part of the drive to reassure consumers that up to £85,000 of their savings is protected if their financial institution goes under. The latest consumer awareness research surveyed more than 1,400 people in July, just before the ads were broadcast.

The compensation scheme has acknowledged that previous advertising attempts have not raised awareness to the levels it had hoped and its new publicity phase, which started in January and is running over 15 months, aims to convey a more simplified message.

The FSCS is funded by an industry levy and the £3 million it has put aside also includes a range of print and online advertising.

Its new deposit protection checker - which can be found at www.fscs.org.uk/protected/ - allows people to enter the names of their banks, building societies and credit unions they have money with.

The checker then informs them whether their savings are protected by FSCS, or if not, how much of their money is at risk.

Before the creation of the checker, consumers had to ask their provider if they were protected, call FSCS or check a list of authorised firms against the online Financial Services Register.

Mark Neale, chief executive of the FSCS, said: " We are still finding that too few people are aware of the protection we provide - yet we know that those who do know about FSCS feel more confident.

"We firmly believe that by providing this checker we can help consumers to be better informed, reassured and able to make considered, confident decisions about their savings."

The scheme covers savings up to £85,000 for single accounts and £170,000 for joint accounts if a financial institution goes bust.

Compensation limits apply to money lost per banking licence and not per individual brand, meaning that consumers who want to remain within the limit have to know which banking groups own individual brands.

New rules came into force in August last year which mean that banks, building societies and credit unions must prominently display stickers or posters publicising the compensation levels.

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