11 million people – a quarter of Britons – are falling back on credit cards when their current accounts are empty.
‘Credit Card Crunch Day’ – the day people turn to credit cards when their cash runs low – comes on average 21 days after they’ve been paid.
That’s the finding from new research by price comparison site Moneysupermarket.com, which also found a quarter of Britons – or 11 million people – rely on credit cards when their current accounts run dry.
And while 21 days is the average period most go before reaching for the plastic, 9% are spending on credit less than 15 days after they’ve been paid.
However, there are regional variations. People in Wales turn to credit on average 10 days after payday, while those in the East of England almost make it through the month – only reaching for their credit cards after an average of 27 days.
35% use their credit cards monthly for items like petrol, groceries and food, but a further 32% put more expensive items like holidays on their cards. However, while men are less likely to use credit in the first fortnight after being paid, they are more likely to buy big ticket items that they may not be able to repay straight away.
Moneyhighstreet comments: “It’s easy to see why people are reaching for the plastic to tide them over. Static wages, inflation, large rises in household bills – they all add up and place increasing pressure on household finances.
“Credit cards can be a good short-term way to pay your daily expenses, but you need to keep an eye on your spending and make sure you’re not slipping into debt you can’t afford. It’s also worth shopping around for better credit card interest rates to keep your payments as low as possible.
“If you are regularly unable to pay back your credit cards, however, it may be time to rein in your spending with a budget or look at ways of consolidating your debts.”