Nearly half of those rejected (46%) said it was the first time they had been turned down for a financial product, according to research by Royal London.
The survey found that a quarter of adults who tried to take out a financial product during the pandemic found it harder than before the virus (26%).
Royal London said that since March, 8% of adults have applied for government benefits. Of that number, more than two fifths were applying for benefits for the first time (44%) but more than one in ten 10 were rejected for all benefit applications (11%).
Royal London says data shows that 15% of people have less than £500 in savings.
Royal London said there were signs that the pandemic was “adversely” affecting consumers’ ability to access basic financial products including personal loans, credit cards and overdrafts. Many people have turned to the benefits system for the first time.
In terms of government benefits (including Universal Credit), 44% of people who applied for benefits did so for the first time during the pandemic, rising to 51% for managerial, professional and supervisory occupations.
Nearly one in five (19%) had some of their benefit applications rejected while 11% had all of their applications rejected. One respondent said it was “humiliating” to have to ask for help in their sixties.
More than one in five adults (21%) who have attempted to take out a financial product during the past nine months said they were not satisfied with the total cost and some 18% were dissatisfied with the ease of contacting financial organisations. Some 16% were not satisfied with the length of the process.
• Research was carried out in December by YouGov for Royal London. 2,074 UK adults took part online.