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Participant information

Introduction and participant information

You are being invited to take part in the Real accounts research study, which is being carried out by a joint research team across the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University, Nest Insight, and the Centre for Personal Financial Wellbeing at Aston University. Before you decide, it is important for you to understand why the study is being conducted and what it will involve.

Please take time to read the following information carefully and discuss it with others if you wish. Please do not hesitate to ask the research team questions (see contact details below) if there is anything that is unclear or if you would like more information. It’s completely up to you whether you want to take part or not.

Why is this study being carried out?

The aim of the research study is to improve understanding of household experiences and management of money. Your contribution to the study will help us to create new evidence on this topic and our results will inform policymakers and providers of financial services.

Who is conducting the research?

The research is being carried out by a joint research team across the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health at Glasgow Caledonian University, Nest Insight, and the Centre for Personal Financial Wellbeing at Aston University.

Why have you been invited to take part?

We have invited you to take part because we are looking for individuals in your area to participate in the research. We think your views and experiences are important for this study.

Do I have to take part?

No, participation is voluntary. You can ask questions about the study before deciding whether or not to participate. If you agree to take part in this study, you will complete a consent form. You may withdraw from the study at any point without the need to give a reason (subject to General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and the UK Data Protection Act 2018, the information collected may still be used in an anonymous format).

What will I have to do if I take part?

We’ll invite you to take part in two key research activities:

  1. Your household will be paired with a researcher from the Real accounts research team. Your household will be paired with the same researcher throughout the project. You (and other households members if they consent to taking part) will meet with your researcher once a month for interviews over a period of seven months – an introductory interview in the first month and then 6 monthly interviews. These interviews will last approximately one hour during which we will discuss your household finances, such as reviewing income and spending from the previous month. We will also use these sessions to hear more about how your household manages money, how financial responsibilities and decisions are managed, and your household’s experiences of work and income.
  2. During this period, we’ll also ask you and your household members to sign up to My Money Tracker, an app which we have developed especially for this project to record income and spending data for research purposes. My Money Tracker records transaction information to build an accurate, long-term picture of household finances. To use My Money Tracker, we will need you to connect your bank accounts and financial products, and this will share data with the research team on all the financial transactions you’ve made in the previous 12 months. The research team will not have access to any of your account details, such as account or card numbers.

We will also ask you to stay connected to My Money Tracker during the six months of the study whilst you’re taking part in the monthly interviews. We’ll also provide you with a journal where you can note down any income or expenses that can’t be collated by the tracker, such as cash income or expenses.

All data collated by the My Money Tracker will be kept confidential and stored first in a pseudonymous format – meaning that any information which could be used to identify you directly or indirectly will be replaced with a false name, and then in an anonymous format. The research team will not have access to any of your account details, such as account or card numbers, they will only be able to see the amounts and the type of transactions (e.g. £10 spent in Tesco, or £20 received from family member).

The monthly interviews can take place in person somewhere that is comfortable for you or remotely via video chat or phone calls. The meetings will be in a confidential environment and at a date and time that is convenient for you.

Prior to starting the monthly interviews, you will be asked to provide verbal and written consent (you can provide this via email, an online form or in person) confirming your agreement to take part in the study. If you consent to connect your accounts to the My Money Tracker, you’ll also be asked to agree to Moneyhub’s Terms of Service and we will set up a meeting with you (online or in person) ahead of the monthly interviews to help you with connecting your accounts.

If you live in a household where multiple adults contribute to the household finances, we would be interested in inviting them to also connect their accounts to My Money Tracker and take part in the monthly interviews. However, you would be the lead participant, meaning that you would be the key contact in the participating household, and we would expect you to attend all six of the monthly meetings, even when additional household members can attend with you.

We may also contact you throughout the six months to invite you to take part in additional research activities about your experiences of your finances, such as interviews.

Will I benefit directly from this research study?

You will be compensated for your time and any study expenses you incur. Each month you will be paid £40 for your participation. The total amount of money you will receive for taking part in this study will be up to £280 over seven months. You will receive payments through the third-party platform Ayda. You will receive instructions on how to register with Ayda at the beginning of the study and a member of the research team will be on hand to help you with this. If other members of your household also connect their accounts to My Money Tracker, your household will be compensated with an additional one-off £30 digital voucher.

You will receive no direct benefits from participating, except from being offered compensation for participation. However, your experiences and views are important and they will help us to learn more about how individuals and households manage their money. The findings will contribute to important research that could help policymakers, academics and the financial services industry better understand how to support people to improve their financial wellbeing.

Are there any risks in taking part?

The possible risks of participating in the research are minimal. The research team take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with Data Protection legislation and to protect your personal data so it is kept confidential at all times.

You may feel discomfort in sharing or reflecting on experiences of your finances, as this may bring up memories of difficult times. In this case, you are strongly encouraged to tell the researcher if you would like to take a break during the interview, and if you feel like participation is causing you any distress at all then you can choose not to answer a question or not to continue with the interviews at any time, without having to give a reason. Questions have been chosen and worded in a way that aims to mitigate any discomfort or distress, but this cannot be guaranteed. The researcher will share with you some support services that may be useful if you are looking for someone to talk to as a result of taking part in the research.

In cases where multiple members of your household are participating in monthly interviews, the researcher will check with you in advance about which financial accounts or transactions you consent to discussing with other household members present. For example, if you have money you have not told your partner about, this information will not be shared with your partner by the researcher.

The research team will not report any information to the government or other authorities. For example, if you were not declaring all your income, or were providing false information to the government, we would not declare this. However, researchers have a duty of care to contact authorities where participants reveal that they intend to harm themselves or others.

What will happen to the information that I give?

All information provided will be confidential. Only members of the research team will have access to it. Your name will not be used in any report or publication produced. In accordance with the Glasgow Caledonian University’s policy on data protection (and under General Data Protection Regulation 2018 and the UK Data Protection Act 2018), your data will not be kept longer than six years after project completion. Anonymised personal data will be kept secure and protected by a password on a project computer. Anonymous research data will be deposited in the UK Data Service Repository. To find out more about how we are using your personal data for this project, please take a look at the Fair Processing Notice which includes more information on how we use your data for this research. If you have any questions about the university’s data protection policy, you can talk to a member of the research team (details below) or send an email to dataprotection@gcu.ac.uk.

Your rights

This study is being conducted on the lawful basis of ‘explicit consent’ (set out in Article 6(1)(a) and Article 9(2)(a) of General Data Production Regulation 2018 and the UK Data Protection Act 2018). Subject to this legislation, you have the right to be informed; you may also have the right to access, rectify, erase or restrict your data, or object to it being used. If you are dissatisfied with how your information has been handled and the response from the research team, you have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO): Address: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK95AF; T: 030 3123 1113; Email: casework@ico.org.uk.

What happens when the research study ends?

The data will be analysed, and findings will be available through written reports, established website reports, the media, presentations and journal publications. Written reports of the study findings will be shared with the participants upon request.


This study has been approved by the Ethics Committee, Glasgow School for Business and Society, Glasgow Caledonian University.


This research is funded by the Aviva Foundation.

What to do now

We will contact you again to invite you the next stage of the research. If you would no longer like to take part or if you would like any further information about this study, please contact: realaccounts@nestcorporation.org.uk.

If there is a problem please contact:
Prof Olga Biosca
E: olga.biosca@gcu.ac.uk
Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health
Glasgow Caledonian University