Continuing our guest blogs, Kat Hodgkinson, Head of External Affairs for financial education charity pfeg, reveals why banks and other companies shouldn't make assumptions about the way young people want to communicate
"Earlier this year pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group) was pleased to become a supporter of the Keep Me Posted campaign for consumer choice. We too are firm believers in the need to protect and champion the rights of the consumer – and the right to decide, without fear of disadvantage, how we as consumers communicate with banks, utility providers and other companies is crucial in today’s world.
As the UK’s leading financial education charity, our focus is on improving the ability of young people to manage their money. This is central to our mission – and it is in this critical arena that our goals align with those of the Keep Me Posted campaign.
It is essential that banks and other companies do not make sweeping assumptions about young people when designing their products and services. We may live in the age of the tweet, tablet and text message – but not all young people prefer to manage their finances through digital communication alone. Indeed, Keep Me Posted research shows that more than a third of under 25s still prefer to receive paper statements – and crucially, this can help them keep on top of their finances and budget more effectively. It is absolutely right that paper bills and statements remain an option for those young people who prefer to manage their money in this way.
The continued availability of paper statements is also crucial for the significant number of young people without access to the digital communications channels that companies are increasingly moving towards to provide customer services at a lower cost. Digital exclusion must not be allowed to reinforce the already significant problem of financial exclusion that is damaging the life prospects of too many young people.
Teaching high-quality financial education in schools is essential when it comes to improving money management. However, consumer choice in the way that people can manage their finances is similarly crucial. We look forward to working with the Keep Me Posted to support its important campaign to ensure that this right to choose is restored and protected, for the benefit of consumers both young and old."