‘Mattress money’ common in Northern Ireland
Committee hears that 13 per cent of people do not have access to a bank account
An estimated 13 per cent of people in the North do not have access to a bank account, according to evidence presented on the first day of an inquiry into the banking structure in the North.
The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, which is composed of a group of Northern Ireland and British MPs, yesterday heard how “mattress money” was a way of life for some people.
The North’s Consumer Council told the committee at the House of Commons yesterday that Northern Ireland displayed historically lower levels of financial capability in terms of people being able to manage money.
As a result, Aodhan O’Donnell, the Consumer Council’s director of policy, said some people relied on mattress money to manage their every day financial affairs.
The council believes that, as a result of this, some people are losing out on opportunities to save money by being able to access online banking services.
It says some people do not have a bank account because they may use credit unions, because they do not trust certain financial institutions or may no longer have access to a local bank branch.
The sharp rate of closure of bank branches in the North is just one area that the committee’s inquiry will examine.