Millions turn to credit for daily purchases

Nia Williams

January 31, 2011

One in ten (10% of those using their credit card in January) said they needed to use their card to see them through the long gap to the January pay day – the only time of year when monthly salaries may have to stretch up to six weeks. More than one in ten (11%) said they needed their card to cover overspend on Christmas purchases.

A third (33%) admitted to relying on their credit card to get through every month anyway.

Looking at credit card usage throughout the year, while half (52%) of credit card holders expect to spend the same as they did during 2010, over 2.4 million (7%) said they expect to spend more on their card during 2011. Around 32% expect to increase spend by up to £100 extra per month, and 17% said they would potentially add up to £200 monthly.

More than half (56%) plan to pay off their bill in full each month to avoid paying any interest charges, but 7% estimate it will take them more than three years to entirely clear their credit card debt. Around 39% said they will need to budget more carefully throughout 2011 as a result.

Commenting, Post Office head of credit cards Az Alibhai said: “January has been a tight month for many of us, especially with the long wait until pay day, and we can see that many people are falling back on credit cards to ease the costs of day to day living. If the debt is managed sensibly and paid off quickly, this can be very effective. However, if you don’t pay off the bill in full, it can be a pricey way to fund daily purchases.”

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