Families with poor credit ratings are paying more for key utilities such as broadband services, a study has indicated.
Research conducted by the Cranfield School of Management on behalf of credit card company aqua found that such households are overpaying by a combined £3.5 billion a year on broadband and other products.
Typically, families with a poor credit rating are spending an extra £1,170 a year on broadband, mobile phone contracts, credit cards, white goods and cars bought on finance.
This is because their chequered financial history prevents them from accessing the most attractive tariffs, the study found.
Broadband consumers with a strong credit rating could expect to pay £59.88 per year for their connection.
However, this sum rises to £174.84 for low-credit homes.
"Simply put, poor credit is costing households in the UK billions," said Dr John Glen, Senior Lecturer in Economics at the Cranfield School of Management.
"It's alarming that often the people who need the most help are the ones who are charged more for everyday household products and services."