 Almost a third (32%) of UK couples who argue over finances have had more frequent arguments as a result of economic turmoil
 But nearly one in five (19%) couples say that the recession has prompted them to talk more openly about their finances
 Four in five (80%) couples keep separate bank accounts - an increase from last year

The economic crisis is having an effect on British relationships with almost a third (32%) of couples admitting to arguing more this year, mainly about money and household chores. But it has also prompted one in five (19%) couples to talk more openly about their finances, according to research* from online payment provider PayPal.

This willingness to talk openly about money will almost certainly help the one in ten (11%) couples who have seen the main breadwinner in their relationship change in the last twelve months. Almost two thirds (61%) of these couples have changed breadwinner because one of them has either lost their job or had a pay cut, while over a third (39%) have switched places following a new job, promotion or pay rise.

Carl Scheible, Managing Director of PayPal UK, said: “As the recession becomes reality, British couples are facing new challenges within their relationships. It’s good to see that difficult times are prompting us to talk about money, as it’s far easier to cope with financial worries when we’re open with each other about them. It’s also good to see that even in these uncertain times money is causing fewer arguments within couples in Britain than in many other countries, such as the United States and Australia.”

The PayPal research also reveals that the old adage of ‘what’s mine is yours’ doesn’t stretch to money matters: among online consumers, 80% of UK couples keep separate bank accounts, up from 71% in 2008. This is still significantly more than couples in the USA with over half (57%) of US respondents admitting to having separate bank accounts. In the UK a cautious 13% of couples say they have separate accounts to avoid more arguments about money, while one in five choose to hold separate accounts because they don’t want to take responsibility for their partner’s spending.

PayPal’s Carl Scheible continues: “Our research shows a big increase in people keeping separate bank accounts over the last year, as we try to keep control of our own money. We’ve also found that financial tensions tend to come to the surface once the ‘honeymoon’ period is over, with over 90% of couples admitting they began arguing about money after they had been together for a while. This is perhaps an indicator that people wait until they feel settled with their partner before bringing up the sticky subject of finances.”

For couples who want to transfer money to each other quickly, PayPal allows customers to send money securely via email or mobile phone. There are no fees for payments to friends and family that are funded via a bank account or PayPal balance. Any money transferred becomes available immediately.

International Comparisons:

The global PayPal survey found that:

§ 43% of couples in the US compared to 32% in the UK say the recession has caused them to argue more often;

§ 9% of Brits have ended a relationship because of financial issues compared to 14% of people in the US and Mexico and just 5% in the Netherlands; and

§ One in ten (9%) UK couples argue over money more than anything else compared to one in three (31%) couples in the US.

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