New research has found almost two million Brits have had an ex partner rack up debt on shared credit cards, as well as costing them fees on joint accounts and mortgages.
On average, these exes ran up debts of:
- £457 on joint cards
- £327 on shared online shopping accounts
- £313 on joint bank account fees
- £463 in mortgage debt
Joint accounts kept after breaking up
The research found that the financial impact lingers long after a relationship fizzles out.
Over two thirds of those who shared an account or credit card with a partner have never cancelled or closed it, despite having broken up more than five years ago.
A third say they didn’t get round to changing a shared pin code, and one in five still have shared credit cards active after splitting up
Half think relationship impacted finances
What’s more, your ex partner’s finances could impact your own.
Half of those who shared financial products with a partner (50%) believe doing so had a significant impact on their own personal finances – 30% actually saw their credit score drop.
One in five knew nothing about their partner’s financial history before jumping into a shared account.
These debts take four in ten people more than half a year to clear, but for some they last longer than the relationship – 10% take more than five years to get back in the black.
Avoiding financial heartache
Nicolas Frankcom, money expert at uSwitch said:
“Money might not be the sexiest pillow talk but not addressing this taboo subject can lead to financial as well as emotional heartache further down the line.
“While talking about exes may be the norm, couples should be having a more frank and open discussions about their finances. Being left with debts, that last longer than the relationship did, only rubs salt in the wound after a breakup.
“If you do nothing else, make sure you check your own credit report so you can measure the impact of your partner and be aware of anything unusual on it. If you do break up with your partner, make sure to close all shared accounts and contact each of the three main credit agencies to disassociate yourself from your ex.”
Ways to manage debt
If paying back the debts will be a struggle, don’t panic, there are a couple of things you can do to manage your debts without your finances taking too much of a hit. If you are in serious trouble you should seek independent financial advice, there are a number of debt advice charities who can help.
If you need a bit of breathing space with your card debts a 0% balance transfer card could help.
You can avoid paying interest on your debts for up to three years, however if you don’t repay before the 0% period expires you may be charged a higher than average APR. You will have to typically pay a fee to transfer your balance onto a 0% card.
If you can’t manage your multiple debts’ monthly repayments you could pay off all your debts with a personal loan.
This can give you lower monthly repayments, but do note you need to meet set monthly repayments and you will typically have to pay back more in total over the lifetime of the loan.