It’s a hot summer’s day and you’ve finally got your hands on a McFlurry, only to be given one penny in change. What do you do with it? Slot it inside your pocket for safekeeping, of course. But later that week, your unused coppers start to weigh you down. It almost feels like you’d be better off without them. If only you had used an app that invests your spare change for you…
A shocking one in seven (14%), or 7.2 million Brits, are ditching their spare change by throwing it in the bin and disposing of an average 51p each month. This, in addition to the number of people who lose their coppers, amounts to an enormous £100 million worth of coppers that goes missing each month. One in five Brits (22%) say they lose on average of 41p every month, totalling £56 million over the year, while the amount thrown away is £44 million.
However, we aren’t always so careless with our coppers. Brits also utilise their spare coins more sensibly, including saving, donating and spending them. We are actually most likely to stash away our coppers into our piggy banks (54%) or give them to charities (51%). On average, Brits donate 69p in coppers to charities each month, which translates to £220 million worth of donations per year.
Many of us simply treat coppers like any other coins and put them to good use paying for goods and services. Almost half of us (47%) do this by giving them directly to the cashier, while two in five Brits (38%) spend them at self-service machines.
Coppers are also popular for tips, with a third (33%) of us tipping at restaurants and cafes with them, while one in seven (15%) spend their 1p and 2p coins in arcade machines.
According to our research, men are more careless with their coppers than women. 25% of men say that they regularly lose them compared to only 18% of women. Additionally, 16% of men throw them away compared to only 11% of women.
Conversely, women are more likely to use their coppers in a productive way. 54% of women donate their spare change compared to 47% of men, while 40% of women pay for goods at self-service machines with coppers compared to 36% of men.
Londoners are most likely to throw their change in the bin with a fifth (20%) saying they do so. Residents from the North East are most likely to have a large stash of coppers in their piggy banks with 64% saying they save their coppers in this way. Those from the North West are the most careless with their coins, with 27% saying they lose their change.
North East, 56%
East Anglia, 41%
South West, 23%
East Anglia, 8%
North East, 64%
South West, 46%
North West, 27%
East Midlands, 13%
East Midlands, 10%
North East, 55%
East Midlands, 43%
North East, 44%
East Midlands, 24%
We found that older generations seem to value to their coppers more than the younger generations. Generation Z (those born after 1996) are the most likely to lose their coppers (46%) or bin them (24%). These percentages decrease progressively with age: only 4% of the silent generation (born 1928-1945) admit to throwing away or losing their 1p and 2p coins.
What do different generations do with their coppers?
“Coppers are generally playing a less significant role in our lives than they used to, but our research shows that there is still value in looking after them when they end up in your wallet. It may not seem like much on an individual level, but £100 million is a huge amount that Brits could save, spend or give to charity each year.
If you’re annoyed by change, maybe it’s time to go digital and convert to contactless payments. What’s even better is that some digital banking cards like Monzo and Revolut even offer a “round up your change” feature that helps you automatically squirrel money away to a savings fund.
Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that while they may not mean much in isolation, coppers can be valuable to charities. If you don’t know what to do with them, donating them is always preferable to throwing them in the bin. Some personal finance apps like Revolut will round up your spare change and donate it to charities for you.”
– Jon Ostler, CEO of Finder UK
Finder UK commissioned Onepoll to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+.
A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.
Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:
Matt Mckenna UK Communications Manager T: +44 20 8191 8806
Whether it's a credit or debit card using contactless is pretty common these days, especially since 73% of all cards issued in 2017 in the UK were contactless. We did some research to understand contactless card trends in the UK and Brits' attitudes are towards them.
While something of a juggernaut in the groceries and traditional banking sectors, Tesco Bank doesn't have quite the same aptitude for digital banking. Its app does comfortably hold its own against HSBC, TSB and first direct, but nevertheless it lags far behind the leaders in the sector, like Starling, Monzo and Revolut.
Charlie Barton is a publisher at Finder. He specialises in banking and investments products, including banking apps, current accounts, share-dealing platforms and stocks and shares ISAs. Charlie has a first-class degree from the London School of Economics, and in his spare time enjoys long walks on the beach.
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