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News Release

16th July 2016


Barclays creates a set of emoji chains to help bashful Brits talk about money

I can’t afford it, sorry


That’s too expensive!

I’m broke


You owe me money

You’ve added that up wrong/

you’ve miscalculated that

I don’t want to split the bill

evenly, I didn’t eat or drink

Can I borrow some money


  • Ahead of World Emoji Day on the 17th July, new research reveals that 40 per cent of Britons find talking about money more awkward than discussing relationships or bumping into an ex-partner

  • More than 30 per cent would rather be out of pocket than ask for money owed to them, with one in five Britons losing in excess of £100 in the past year due to this reason

  • Nearly half (49%) of young people[1] said that emojis can make a conversation less awkward

  • Barclays has teamed up with linguistics expert Professor Vyv Evans to create a bespoke set of emoji chains that let Brits express their mon-emo-tions worry free

16th July 2016 - Research by Barclays has today revealed that Britons are living up to their reputation for being polite to a fault, as just under a third (33%) admit they would rather be out of pocket than suffer the awkwardness of asking friends and family for money owed to them.

The study showed that on average more than 40 per cent found talking about money more awkward than a first date (25%) or tricky encounter with an ex (20%).

This reluctance to talk about money means that 42 per cent of Britons are losing out; of these, just under 20 per cent believe they have lost in excess of £100 in the past year. In addition, more than one in ten (13%) of those polled said they would be too embarrassed to tell friends or family they couldn’t afford an activity, and would splash out on it anyway.

However, Barclays has come up with a solution in time for World Emoji Day on the 17th July – say it with emojis! Barclays has teamed up with linguistics and emoji expert, Professor Vyv Evans, to create bespoke emoji chains that allow people to confidently and comfortably discuss finances. From “you owe me money” to “that’s too expensive” or “can I borrow some money?”, these emoji chains can succinctly convey meaning whilst diffusing any awkwardness.

Vyv Evans, Professor of Linguistics at Bangor University in Wales, said: “Emojis are fast becoming one of the most common ways we communicate. In fact, many find it easier to express their emotions through emojis and use emoticons to help them navigate trickier conversations.

“Talking about money is one of those taboo subjects which everybody finds a little difficult – whether it’s asking for a loan from a friend or chasing for cash owed by family members, it’s never the easiest of conversations to breach. The Barclays Mon-Emoji chains make those discussions a little less awkward.”

It seems Britons would also like to be able to cope with everyday awkward conversations by using emojis, with the below identified as the most useful:

  • “I can’t afford it, sorry” (28%)

  • “I’m broke” (25%)

  • “I can’t make our plans anymore” (12%)

  • “I quit” (9%)

  • “You have something in your teeth” (9%)

  • “I want to break up” (6%)

  • “I don’t love you anymore” (5%)

  • “I’ve been unfaithful” (4%)

A Barclays Digital Eagle, said: “At Barclays, we are always trying to make it easier for our customers to deal with and talk about money, which is why we have created this set of emoji chains. It’s just one of the many things we have introduced to help customers manage their finances – along with Pingit, the mobile payment service that allows you to send and receive money using just a mobile number. Hopefully our customers find the emoji chains useful and there will be fewer people left out of pocket.”

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