By Ruby Lizon-Walker


From inflation to rising interest rates, the state of the economy is continually filling the media each day with terminology that can be both challenging to understand and hard to keep up with. With a third of Brits feeling uncomfortable talking about money with friends and family, it has meant that many of us are turning to Google to answer our most burning financial questions.

But what exactly are the UK’s biggest money queries?

From understanding what a good credit score is to getting to grips with mortgages, Savoo has analysed Google search data to find out the UK’s most common financial questions and has teamed up with personal finance experts to answer these queries for the nation.

You can learn more specifically about the current cost of living crisis by visiting the Savoo Cost of Living guide and related saving guidance from expert journalists, written exclusively for Savoo.

The top 20 most searched for money queries of 2022:

Using Ahrefs Keyword Explorer to determine the most popular financial questions Brits are asking on the internet, ranging from queries on loans, tax, inflation, and credit score, we’ve gathered the search volume of 134 money questions to determine which are the most searched for by Brits.

The top 20 most searched financial questions:

Ranking Most Popular Financial Question Avg. Annual UK Search Volume
1 What is inflation? 177,600
2 What is a good credit score? 145,200
3 What is national insurance? 97,200
4 What is a balance transfer credit card? 79,200
5 How to improve credit score? 79,200
6 What are interest rates? 64,800
7 What is a mortgage? 64,800
8 How does a credit card work? 64,800
9 What causes inflation? 64,800
10 How to check credit score? 52,800
11 How to get a mortgage? 52,800
12 What is APR on a credit card? 52,800
13 What is a credit score? 43,200
14 What is a credit card? 43,200
15 Insurance: what is excess? 3,600
16 What are utility bills? 2,900
17 What is my credit score? 2,900
18 What is a budget? 2,400
19 How to get a credit card? 2,400
20 How to increase credit score? 2,400

1. What is inflation?

Inflation has been a trending topic and a buzzword across the globe as rates hit a record high in 40 years this October in the UK, rising to 10.1%. With all of us seeing the effects on our supermarket bills, it’s only to be expected that the UK’s most Googled financial question is what is inflation?

With over 14,000 monthly searches around this, financial adviser George Rashbrook gives an insight into this question for the nation.

“Inflation is a measure of how much the price of things we buy day-to-day are increasing. The figures you see reported in the news compare the price of things today to what they were at the same time last year.

For example: if a loaf of bread cost you £1 this time last year, but today it costs you £1.05, inflation on that item has been 5%."

George further explains that “The measure of inflation we hear about most commonly in the news is the Consumer Price Index (or CPI). This measures the increase in prices on “a basket of goods and services"; things that UK households are likely to buy on a regular basis. This includes things like food, clothes, electricity, and petrol but excludes things like rent and mortgage payments."


2. What is a good credit score?

Ranking in second place as the UK’s most searched for money query is ‘what is a good credit score?’, which has been searched an average of 12,100 a month in the UK. Knowing your credit score can help you understand how lenders view you and how they make decisions about you as a borrower. A strong credit score can help you access a wider range of services and products such as mortgages, loans, credit cards and better interest rates.

Financial Coach, Elizabeth Buko, states that “A credit score is a number used by financial lenders to help them determine how likely customers are to pay back the money they lend via loans or credit cards.

The number usually varies from low to high 3 figures from 0 to 999 depending on the credit scoring model used, and it is calculated based on the information in your credit report, including your payment history, the amount of outstanding debt you have, and the length of your credit history.

A good credit score will be on the higher end and will help a customer get approved for credit and loans at very attractive interest rates."

Matilda from Millennial Saver adds; “A good credit score can vary depending on what platform you use to check your credit score, generally, credit scores from 580 to 669 are considered fair; 670 to 739 are considered good; 740 to 799 are considered very good, and 800 and up are considered excellent."


3. What is national insurance?

With 8,000 Google queries every month, many Brits are still confused about the monthly deduction to their salary as a result of national insurance. National Insurance (NI) is a tax on your earnings that you must contribute to if you're over 16 years of age, and earn or have self-employed profits over a certain amount. If you are paid through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system, your national insurance (NI) is automatically deducted from your salary each paycheck. The contributions help to build your entitlement to benefits such as state pension and maternity allowance. For those that are self-employed, NI contributions will be determined by a self-assessment tax return and will be paid at the same time as income tax. Once you reach state pension age, you will no longer have to pay NI contributions.


4. What is a balance transfer credit card?

This question ranks as the fourth most searched financial query in the UK, with 79,200 annual searches. A balance transfer credit card is when you move your existing credit card balance(s) to another credit card with a different provider.

George reports that “A balance transfer credit card is an account that offers you a lower rate of interest if you transfer debt from another lender. Very often these lower rates are temporary, meaning you need to repay the debt within a certain time or the interest rate will go back up. It’s often possible to transfer a balance again at the end of the discounted period in order to take advantage of more than the promotional rate.

For example: imagine you have a credit card with a balance of £1,000 and an interest rate of 17%. In the course of a year, you will be charged £170 in interest (assuming you don’t pay any of the loans off in that time). You find a balance transfer card online that offers you a promotional rate of 0% for six months. You transfer the balance and for six months don’t have to pay any interest at all. Some balance transfer cards charge a fee to set up or to transfer the balance in. It’s important to compare the cost of these fees to the amount of interest you’ll save in order to make sure it’s actually going to save you money."


5. How to improve credit score

Brits make almost 80,000 searches yearly to find out how to improve their credit score, making it the nation’s fifth most searched for financial question. It’s important to build a good credit score as it can affect your ability to borrow money. Improving your credit score is not an instant fix, and it can take anywhere from months to even years for the updated information to appear on your credit score report.

If you're trying to improve your credit score, here are a few things you can do:

  • Check your credit report: It’s essential to keep an eye on your credit report for any changes or errors. Even the smallest mistakes can negatively impact your score, so if you spot something that looks out of place, report it as soon as possible.
  • Use a credit card: A credit card can be a perfect way to prove that you’re creditworthy. Paying off purchases on time each month demonstrates to lenders that you are able to pay back the debts that you owe.
  • Pay on time: Lenders are able to view your payment history from the last 12 months, so it’s important that you don’t miss any payments as it can signal to lenders that you are not reliable and might struggle to pay back the money that you owe.


6. What are interest rates?

Along with inflation, discussion on interest rates has been repeatedly discussed in the media, with the UK seeing the biggest single rate increase since 1989 in November as rates rose from 2.25% to 3%. With 5,400 monthly Google searches, the rising interest rate has had many of us puzzled about what it actually means.

To help us wrap our heads around the financial term, George informs us of the different ways interest rates can affect us “When you put money in a bank account you are essentially lending it to the bank. You would normally expect the bank to pay you for this – this payment is known as “interest".

The amount of interest you earn is very often related to how long you agree to leave the money in the account. Similarly, interest is charged when you borrow money. If you have a loan, a credit card, a mortgage, an overdraft or are paying monthly for something you’ve bought (a finance agreement) the contract will specify the interest rate. Again this is usually represented as a percentage of the amount you borrow over a one year term.


7. What is a mortgage?

Following close behind is the query ‘what is a mortgage?’. This question has an average monthly search volume of 5,400 and was searched the most during the months of January and September in 2022. For those looking to get onto the property ladder, a mortgage is one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make. That’s why it’s essential that when you sign on the dotted line you understand what it means for you.

Matilda explains what you really need to know when you decide to borrow money to buy a house “A mortgage is a loan from a bank or building society that lets you buy a property. It is a secured loan, which means the bank has the right to take back and sell the property if you cannot keep up with your monthly repayments.

Mortgage lenders base their decisions on what's known as the loan-to-income ratio – the amount you want to borrow divided by how much you earn. The most you can borrow is usually capped at around 4.5 times your annual income. When working out how much you can afford to borrow, the lender will look at – your income, your outgoings and any future changes, broadly speaking."


8. How does a credit card work?

According to UK Finance, as of July 2022, there are 53,123 UK credit card holders. Out of 53,123, only 35,868 are active accounts with an outstanding balance every month. With Brits making over 5,000 searches every month on how a credit card works it is clear that many of us are still stumped on how to use them and what this means for our finances.

Credit cards are cards which you can use to make payments – the money you spend is borrowed from the card provider rather than taken from a personal bank account. Unlike a debit card, the different fees and interest rates associated with a credit card can make them tricky to understand.

Elizabeth explains how they work so that you don’t get caught out “Financial lenders loan out money to customers, with a grace period (usually between 3 and 6 weeks) to pay back before any interest begins to accrue on the outstanding debt.

If you are unable to pay back within the grace period, a percentage of the balance will be charged on top as a charge. This is the interest rate charge and is the cost of borrowing the money on a credit card. This interest compounds with time, meaning with every passing bill, you will pay interest on the outstanding balance even if the outstanding balance already includes a previous interest charge."

It’s important for individuals to be mindful of whether or not a credit card is right for them, as incorrect usage of the card such as missed payments could result in damaging your credit score and spiral you into debt due to the higher interest rates.


9. What causes inflation?

Unsurprisingly, another question in regard to inflation has made the list of the UK’s most googled financial questions. The query has been searched 64,800 times annually and ranks ninth overall. Impacting so many of us, Brits have taken to Google to get a better understanding of the rising prices.

Elizabeth answers “Inflation can occur when the cost of production or manufacturing increases, and the price increase is passed onto consumers. It also occurs when the supply capacity of goods and services doesn’t meet the demand from the population and this can push prices up. Other causes of inflation include when governments finance their spending by printing more money instead of increasing taxes."


10. How to check credit score?

George reveals all the ways you can review your credit score “You can check your credit score online via a Credit Reference Agency. Some offer this for free; some charge a small admin fee. You will have to provide information to prove your identity before you’ll be given access to your data as it’s all treated confidentially.

The three main credit reference agencies are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You will easily find information on these by tying the name into an internet search engine.

In recent times a number of apps have launched that give you access to your credit score at any time via your smartphone. Popular apps include ClearScore and CreditKarma."


The UK’s Trending Financial Questions

Using monthly search volume data, we were also able to discover which queries have seen the biggest rise in searches over the last three months.

Rank Question Three month change (%)
1 What does the interest rate increase mean? 2000%
2 When are energy bills going up? 600%
3 Why does raising interest rates help inflation? 350%
4 What help will I get with fuel bills? 325%
5 What is debt factoring? 181%
6 What are interest rates? 175%
7 How much are energy bills going up? 171%
8 How to save energy bills? 171%
9 How to save money on electricity bills? 156%
10 How much will energy bills rise? 129%

The question ‘What does the interest rate increase mean?’ has been identified as the UK’s most trending question. The query saw a 2,000% surge in searches over the last three months. With a 600% increase in searches, when are energy bills going up was UK’s second most trending question. February saw the most searches about the rising prices of energy bills followed by March and August (390, 320 and 320 respectively).

Rounding off the top three is why does raising interest rates help inflation? — searches for this increased by 350% in the last three months.

UK Cities Most Searched for Financial Question:

Savoo has taken an in-depth look into the search habits of the UK’s five largest cities to find out what financial topics have stumped them most.

Take a look at the table to see what each city is searching the answer for:

City Most Popular Financial Question Average Annual Search Volume
London What is inflation? 34,800
Birmingham What is a good credit score? 5,760
Liverpool What is a good credit score? 2,040
Sheffield What is inflation? 1,320
Bristol What is inflation? 2,040

Not only is inflation the UK’s most popular financial question, but it is also the top trending question in three UK cities. The rising prices clearly have many of us bewildered with an average annual search of 34,800 in London, 1,320 searches in Sheffield and 2,040 in Bristol.

What is a good credit score is the UK’s second most popular money query and is the most searched for in Birmingham and Liverpool. With an average annual of 5,760 searches in Birmingham and 2,040 in Liverpool, it goes without saying that both cities are ready to get a better understanding of their credit report.

Most of us have grown used to using Google to answer any and every question we have, and finance-related questions are no different. This is not a terrible thing as Google can be a great source for finding information however, not all advice may be relevant to your situation.

Use Google as a way to learn and search for more detail on topics you want to know more about but always consider consulting with a financial advisor to secure your decisions.

Sources and Methodology

We determined the most popular question around 16 different financial topics by using Ahrefs Keyword Explorer. Once gathered, the monthly search volume of the UK and the five largest cities were collected on Google Keyword planner.

Search volume was collected and correct on 24/10/22: