Half of UK consumers find website jargon confusing

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As many as 50% of UK adults are confused by the jargon used on financial services company websites, according to a recent survey from NS&I, one of the UK's largest financial services providers. NS&I engaged research company TNS to investigate attitudes towards financial services jargon among UK consumers.

The research found that, by not taking action to communicate with customers more clearly, these companies risk seeing customers choose a competitor whose language they better understand.

This “Jargon Buster Survey” also discovered that as many as six in ten savers might stop saving with a bank or building society whose terms and conditions they don’t understand.

The terms that UK savers find most confusing are as follows:

  • FSCS – Financial Services Compensation Scheme (77%)
  • AER – Annual Equivalent Rate (62%)
  • ISA – Individual Savings Account (47%)
  • Gross – Interest paid without savings tax being taken off (45%)

Respondents were also confused by call centre staff, terminology in application forms and some of the phrases used in customer letters. In addition, almost one-fifth (18%) of those surveyed admitted to finding the language used in product brochures confusing.

The research found that male respondents were slightly more aware of the meaning of financial terms than female respondents.

So what do people do when they don’t understand a company’s financial jargon? The research found that nearly two-thirds resort to a search engine to find out the meaning of jargon, while just over a third said that they are more likely to switch to a provider that uses more straightforward language.

Have you ever avoided doing business with a company because of the language it used? Or have you struggled to decipher jargon on a financial services provider's website? Let us know in the comments below.

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