The postcode with the highest amount of unsecured personal debt per person in the UK is in Peterborough, according to a recent lending survey by the British Bankers Association (BBA).
The postcode PE7 0 – which includes Coates, Hampton, Folksworth, Yaxley and Whittlesey in the Peterborough area – harbours a total unsecured debt of £348,180, or an average of £1,978 owed per person.
Peterborough not alone
This is over £1,500 more than the average UK personal debt of £466 per person. However, Peterborough is far from alone in having areas with high levels of unsecured debt.
The chart below shows the ten most indebted postcodes in the UK.
The heavily indebted postcodes are spread across the country, but both Leeds and London host two of the most indebted neighbourhoods each.
Looking at the data on a regional basis Londoners owe the most per person at £583.54, and the region Peterborough sits in – the East of England – actually has the lowest debt of any region at £335.88 owed per person.
What is unsecured debt?
Unsecured, or personal debt, is money owed by an individual that is not held against a form of security (like a house or a car) that can be used to reclaim the money lent if the borrower defaults.
The loan is offered against your personal credit history. This will be measured through your credit score, which determines whether or not you can borrow money.
If you default on an unsecured loan this could affect your credit history and make it difficult to apply for future loans and mortgages, in the worst case you could have to declare bankruptcy.
Getting a good deal on unsecured debt
Whilst this may sound scary unsecured debt used wisely is nothing to be afraid of.
It is commonly offered through credit cards, which offer short term borrowing of small sums, and personal loans, which offer longer term borrowing of larger amounts.
The interest rate and fees (the cost of borrowing) varies a lot, so comparing your different options is essential:
- Purchase credit cards can be used to buy everyday goods and come with an interest-free introductory offer, giving you “free” money in the short term. However, the rate will rise after this period is up, the cheapest card for sustained borrowing are low APR credit cards.
- Balance transfer cards are a way of consolidating your existing debt into one card without interest. Balance transfer cards come with a 0% interest period of up to 34 months, but there will be a fee to transfer the balance (typically around 2-3% of the debt).
- Personal loans offer longer-term borrowing and typically at lower rates than credit cards, but the monthly repayments are fixed and will need to be met to avoid defaulting.