- Nearly nine out of ten people with credit card debt (85%) will suffer a financial hangover in 2017 – after consumers put almost £11 billion on plastic to fund Christmas
- Brits are carrying an average of £636 in credit card debt going into the new year
- Over half (52%) think they will still be paying it off when the tree goes up again in December 2017
- Two thirds (65%) are concerned about their level of debt and one in six (17%) are extremely worried
- With credit card debt at record highs, uSwitch.com urges consumers worried about their bills to consider switching to help them save money.
Nearly nine out of ten Brits (85%) will kick off 2017 leaning on their credit cards, each facing an average debt of £636. That’s according to new research from uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service.
With credit card debt hitting record highs last month, the spending of Christmas past will haunt consumers well into the new year. Over half (52%) expect to be paying off this year’s festive debt until Christmas 2017 and, worryingly, almost eight million Brits (15%) are still shouldering the debt of last year’s Christmas bill. The boom in cheap credit has created a vicious circle, with one in ten consumers (9%) saying they cannot ever imagine their lives being debt free.
The festive season drove a fifth (19%) of consumers to spend beyond their means with one in six (16%) going into debt in order to afford Christmas presents for family and friends. When asked why they were willing to take on more debt, one in four (25%) put it down to the magic of Christmas, saying it is too important an occasion for their family to not over spend.
The research shows the financial burden is taking its toll, with two thirds (65%) of consumers concerned about their level of debt as we enter 2017 and one in six (17%) feeling extremely worried about their overall level of indebtedness. uSwitch is urging consumers to act now to lessen the burden and obtain some breathing space – such as by moving existing debt to a credit card that charges 0% interest on balance transfers.
Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Right now millions of Brits are suffering from festive financial hangovers. While it may be hard to see an end in sight, the worst thing people in debt can do right now is stick their head in the sand.
“As well as reigning in spending, using the right products is an easy way to keep your bills down. For example, savvy shoppers who clear their credit card balance in full each month should consider cashback cards to help make back that little bit extra. For those with longer-term debt, cards offering 0% interest on balance transfers could provide some welcome relief, and a little longer to get on top of their debt – with interest-free periods over 40 months now available.
“As well as choosing the right credit card, shopping around for the best deals on things like energy, broadband, insurance and mobile phone tariffs could help cut your spending in the new year and save you over £1,000.
“If you feel like your credit card woes are out of control, help is at hand. Charities like StepChange offer free and impartial advice to help get your debt under control.”
Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.