Barclays is trialling a distinctly low-tech tool to help stressed out cash-strapped university students: in-branch puppy cuddle sessions.
More than three quarters of students worry about running out of money during their first term, according to research from the bank. Some 61% say that money concerns impact their anxiety levels, with 55% saying it hits their mental health, and 52% their sleep.
Next week, students feeling the pressure can visit a Barclays branch in Manchester to cuddle and play with a litter of puppies, which studies have shown can help reduce stress levels. For those unable to make the session, the bank is planning a live YouTube stream.
Visitors will also get access to more practical help in the form of chats with Barclays 'money mentors' who will offer advice on budgeting.
While three quarters of students begin with the best of intentions and set themselves a budget while at uni, two fifths completely run out of money during their first term. 10% are broke after Freshers' Week.
Pip Landers-Letts, head, youth, students and graduate propositions, Barclays, says: "We hope the service will help reduce students’ stress levels and encourage them to open up to us about any money concerns they might have, within a safe - and fluffy - space."