Abbreviations, which are usually popular among youngsters while text messaging, are now being used by half of people who are over 55-years of age.

At least 69 per cent of those aged 35 to 54 years and 50 per cent of older people are using words like LOL, which stands for laugh out loud and which is Britain’s favourite acronym with 54 per cent using it regularly.

Other words that are being used are OMG, for oh my God, and BTW, for by the way.

While those aged 34 years and under are still the most prolific users of such abbreviations, new research has found that two-thirds of all adults now use them.

And they are no longer confined to text messages, with seven in 10 saying they use them in emails as well.

The poll by the Payments Council’s campaigning arm, PayYOURway.org.uk also found that most Britons don’t know the most often used financial abbreviations. Only a third knew APR (annual percentage rate) was a financial term while 31 per cent did not know what ATM (automated teller machine) or PIN (personal identification number) stood for.

In response, PayYOURway.org.uk has launched a glossary so people can check on shortened phrases.

“Text speak has become a way of life and it’s possible to have a whole conversation just using acronyms and abbreviations,” the Daily Express quoted the group’s Sandra Quinn as saying.

“No matter what age you are, you’re likely to be using text speak to some extent. But it is a concern to see just how little we, as a nation, know about the acronyms that really matter to us - the APRs, ATMs and PINs.

“We are coming across these abbreviations every day, yet levels of awareness of what they actually mean are not as high as it could be.

“Payment acronyms crop up more regularly than you think. Knowing what they mean can help you feel more confident about money, which is important as technology develops and new ways to pay become part of everyday life,” she added.