Four in ten people in the Netherlands struggle to keep their finances in order, according to research by the budget agency Nibud.
Digitalisation and the increasing use of direct debits means many people lose track of when payments are taken out of their bank accounts. ‘We call these invisible payments,’ Nibud spokeswoman Gabriella Bettonville told NOS. ‘44% of Dutch people struggle with them.’
The problem is particularly acute for people who are less competent with online services, but younger people are also at risk because they tend to do more of their banking online.
‘Although they’ve grown up in a digital world, they still have problems organising their finances,’ said Bettonville. ‘They often don’t know what is being taken out of their account and when.
‘If several automatic payments are taken off at the same time they can suddenly be in the red without noticing and other payments can’t be processed. That can lead to fines and the whole thing gets worse.’
Nibud said the problem was exacerbated by banks and government agencies sending fewer letters and using digital portals such as mijnoverheid.nl. If people forget to log in for a while they may miss important messages and reminders.
The agency said banks and organisations should continue to send important information by post at no extra cost.
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