The survey found that one in eight people are delaying seeking out help, while more than seven-in-ten people think that they have already cut back as far as they can. The proportion of people already in serious financial difficulty reached 6%, while over 80% of people are worried about the cost of living.
Nationwide stressed the importance of people seeking help from their existing lenders early if and when they come under financial stress.
Jasper Davy, director of support, said: “While asking for help can seem daunting, doing so early usually results in better longer-term outcomes and can help reduce the stress of financial worries on a household.
“We would encourage anyone worried about the rising cost of living to contact their bank or building society who will be able to help.”
His words followed the survey’s findings that just under 20% of people said they would speak to their bank or building society if they were struggling, with 17% saying they would not seek help from anywhere.
Young people are five times less likely to seek help. Worries about doing so include concern about the impact on credit ratings and borrowing limits as well as being charged higher fees.
Natonwide, which is owned by its 15 million customers, has set up a freephone cost of living hotline on 0800 030 40 66 and expects a higher volume of calls into the winter. Its survey spoke to over 2,000 people between August 10 and August 26.