- One in four consumers will carry an average credit card debt of £452 into 2018
- Shoppers put almost £8.5 billion on plastic to pay for Christmas
- Half (50%) believe they will still be paying off the debt next December
- One in ten (8%) are still paying off credit card debt from Christmas 2016
- Almost half (48%) of consumers are entering the new year worried about their level of debt, with one in ten (9%) extremely worried.
The New Year is meant to be a time for a fresh start, but consumers who spent on plastic this Christmas will be carrying an average credit card debt of £452 into 2018, according to new research from uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service.
Despite the cost of living reaching a five year high in 2017, the British public have not held back on their Christmas spending, with almost £8.5 billion being spent on plastic this festive season. Nearly a fifth (17%) of consumers have gone over their Christmas budget, with costs such as the turkey dinner and gifts for loved ones pushing almost a quarter (22%) of people into debt.
However, the excesses of Christmas will come back to haunt those who have spent on credit cards, as half (50%) fear they will still be paying off their debt next Christmas, and, worryingly, one in ten (8%) are still paying off debts from 2016’s Christmas spending.
As many of us look ahead to the New Year, almost half (48%) of consumers are concerned about their level of debt. Nearly one in ten (9%) go as far as saying they are extremely worried about their overall level of borrowing. With this in mind, uSwitch is encouraging consumers to take action now to ensure they have time to align their finances and lessen the burden – by doing things such as moving existing credit card debt to a card that offers 0% interest on balance transfers.
Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch.com, says: “January should be a time for looking ahead, but up and down the country millions of Brits will be looking over their shoulder at the cost of their festive spending. Rather than try and forget about it, the best thing people can do is to make it a New Year’s resolution to tackle their debt head on.
“There are a number of ways to do this. Alongside cutting back on spending, using the right financial products is an easy way to keep your bills down. Cards offering 0% interest on balance transfers can offer breathing space for those who have longer-term debt, as it allows them extra time to get on top of their debt – with interest-free periods of up to 32 months 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 could save you over £1,000.
“However, 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.