Millions of people relied on credit cards in January

Posted on February 5th, 2011 | Categories - News

Credit cards were used by many Britons in January as they waited for pay day at the end of the month.

Millions of people racked up debts on their credit cards last month.

Over 11 million people relied on their credit card to meet living costs in January, according to the annual Post Office Consumer Credit Report.

The figure equates to almost 35% of the total number of credit card holders in the UK.

The report found that 43% of people used their card to pay for grocery shopping with one in ten participants admitting that they needed to use their card because of the long six week gap between their pre-Christmas and January pay cheques.

Overspending on Christmas purchases was cited as the reason for having to use their credit card by 11% of people. However, a further 33% said they use their credit card every month anyway.

Over half of respondents said they expect to pay off their credit card bill in full each month in a bid to avoid any interest charges. Yet just under 10% said it would take them at least three years to clear all of the debts they’ve made on plastic.

Head of Credit Cards at the Post Office 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”. He added: “With many people expecting to increase their credit card spend this year and to help customers manage their finances during the ongoing post-Christmas pinch, we urge cardholders to check out their interest charges and consider switching to a deal with a zero per cent offer on purchases and balance transfers”.