3.2 million Britons contend with five or more credit cards

06 March 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
More than 3 million Britons own five or more credit cards, despite Britain’s current financial state.

New research from MoneyExpert.com shows that around 1.8 million Britons are juggling in excess of five credit cards.

Credit card applications remain high, 28 per cent of Britons applied for a new card in the last year. 21 per cent of applicants applied for just one additional card, whereas 7 per cent applied for two or three.

The most recent figures from the British Bankers’ Association show that £30.4 billion is owed on credit cards.

Sean Gardner, Chief Executive of MoneyExpert.com, said, "The credit crunch hasn’t finished the British love affair with credit cards yet, with millions of us still holding five or more cards.

"That is entirely healthy, if people are swapping debts from one card to another, taking advantage of zero per cent deals to ensure that that they pay as little interest as possible.

"However, there has to be real concern if people are using cards to keep their head above water. Anyone who is trying to juggle five or more credit cards and owes money on all of them is in real trouble."

The research shows that at least 78 per cent of adults own at least one credit card, with those in the 35 - 44 age groups owning the most.

Mr. Gardner advised people who are struggling with too many credit card debts, that now is the time to take action.

"We would urge borrowers to take action now to get their debts under control as the days of easy credit are long gone," he said.

"Card firms are starting to take a hard line, as shown by Egg’s recent decision to stop customers spending on their plastic."

High street lenders are consistently turning down more and more loan and credit card applications as the credit crunch continues to take its toll. Egg has already written to 161,000 of its customers it considers being of a high risk, warning them that their credit cards would be cancelled.

Clever use of credit cards is also becoming harder as cards offering 0 per cent interest become few and far between. According to Fool.co.uk, last year there were around 200 zero per cent credit cards on offer compared to just 24 this year.

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