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FCA Financial Lives Survey

The Financial Lives Survey is a robust large-scale quantitative survey, conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority, which establishes, from all respondents, levels of product ownership, in retail banking, retail investment, savings, credit including mortgages, general insurance and protection, and pension products. It also establishes the level of use of regulated financial advice (advice incidence) and has a section covering assets and debts. Random probability selection rules then allocate each respondent to a single question set about one product area (such as retail banking or first charge mortgages) based on their product holdings, or about advice. In a small number of cases a respondent will not be eligible for any of these main product modules.

This dataset contains the anonymised individual responses from the Financial Lives Survey exercises that were carried out in 2017 and 2020, as well as a COVID-19 survey conducted in October 2020. The full data includes approximately 13,000 (2017), 16,000 (2020) and 22,000 (COVID-19) individual level records from across the UK. A combined file for the 2017 and 2020 surveys are also included for convenience. Not all questions can be tracked from 2017 to 2020 and the combined file only includes those questions that can be tracked.

About the Financial Lives Survey (2017 and 2020)

The Financial Lives Survey uses random probability sampling to recruit respondents to a largely online survey, with a smaller number of interviews conducted in person in home, in order to include in the sample those without internet access and to increase the number of participants aged 70 and over. More details and full report can be found here:

In the 2017 study a different set of random probability selection rules allocates each respondent to up to two short question sets about one topic of interest, based in part on eligibility. These are:
* Self-employed banking
* Frauds and scams
* Access to financial products and services
* Claims management companies
* Savings

Finally, all respondents that are eligible are asked to complete short question sets on GAP insurance, guidance received and being unbanked.

In the 2020 study there are additional short questions sets covering Financial concepts – numeracy, platforms and awareness of the FCA. GAP insurance is not included in 2020.

Demographic data included in at least the 2020 file includes racial/ethnic origin, long-term health problems, sexual orientation, and what government benefits the participant is in receipt of.

For a full description of product module and short question set allocation rules, please see the technical report: (2017) or (2020).

About the Covid-19 panel survey (October 2020)

The Covid-19 panel survey was designed to supplement the main Financial Lives 2020 survey by measuring changes in consumers’ financial positions and to understand their experiences with financial firms since the end of February and before the second national lockdown due to coronavirus (Covid-19) in November 2020. It uses a mixed mode approach of telephone interviews and self-completion using online access panels.

Online interviews were undertaken with just over 22,000 members of online panels and supplemented with 250 additional telephone interviews. The survey covers topics including financial budgeting, payment holidays, attitudes and engagement with financial services, innovation and technology and experiences of fraud and scams and interactions with providers.

Please see for further information about the surveys.

Data Available

Each survey contains two data files, a metadata file, and a user guide:

  • labels/captions file - Individual responses (full text version) - each field (response part) is delimited. Some fields contain multiple responses, these are sub-delimited. Please note that many of the records are very long.

  • codes file - A copy of the above, but using number codes instead, this is more compact to manage and process but requires a lookup file to convert to full text.

  • datamap/reference - A lookup file to interpret the number codes.

  • user guide - A guide to the dataset and list of variables (N.B. See the 2020 user guide for the combined files' user guide).

The data is microdata (individual responses) - there is no aggregated data. The FCA website does included aggregated forms of this data, see

The first field in each labels/captions/codes file is a unique identifier. While these are individual records, no personally identifying data is included. The data files are in CSV, XLSX or TSV TXT format. The datamaps/guides are in DOCX, XLSX and CSV formats.

There are 16 files included in total: (8 data files, 4 datamaps/references, 3 user guides and 1 file list). The largest data file is 317MB. The files are delivered in a 155MB zip file.

Geography Files

Most records include geospatial references, including local authority (LA) and LSOA (DZ in Scotland, SOA in N.I.). LA codes start with 'E06', 'W06', 'S12' or 'N09' and LSOA codes start with 'E01', 'W01', 'S01' or '95' (for N.I.). Geography files for these are not available with this record, as they are downloadable from the original source.

Geography files for LAs can be found at
Geography files for LSOA/DZ/SOA codes can be found at:
* for England and Wales
* for Scotland
* for N.I.

University College London (UCL)
Additional Info: 

Temporal Scope


Data and Resources

Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
United Kingdom
Financal Conduct Authority
Contact Email
POLYGON ((-8.9948498999 49.688302644, -8.9948498999 61.0684288668, 2.0867431164 61.0684288668, 2.0867431164 49.688302644))
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