Lapse attitudes to spending and debt means 4.4million are still paying for last Christmas

05 December 2007
The latest research from MoneyExpert.com shows that more than 4.4 million credit card customers still haven’t cleared debts they ran up last Christmas.

And with credit so freely available, Brits could find themselves getting further and further into the red this year.

According to Standard Life, consumer attitudes to debt have shifted dramatically; with people taking a far more laid back approach to borrowing; for many, getting a loan is no longer seen as a last resort, but a way of financing a certain standard of living.

“Consumer attitudes to credit and borrowing have changed dramatically over the last few years. We are not only seeing people trying to keep ‘up with the Joneses’ but also aspiring to a lifestyle more akin to A-list celebrities, " said Anne Gunther, Chief Executive at Standard Life Bank.

"Credit is not only freely available but considered a way of financing lifestyles rather than reflecting need. Rising debt is also becoming a key issue for younger people from primarily reasonably affluent backgrounds."

According to Standard Life, it is people aged between 20 and 50 that are most likely to borrow money, and young adults particularly are susceptible to strong pressures to consume and if they don't have the cash to spend, they prepared to borrow it.

And Christmas is the worst time of year for borrowing - UK payments association APACS estimates that of the £53 billion Brits will spend this month, £11.7 will be put on credit cards. And with 10 per cent of people still paying off the money they put on their cards last Christmas, millions of people will simply be adding more and more onto their existing debts.

“It is not time to cancel Christmas but for millions of us it really is time to cancel some credit cards, "advises Sean Gardner, Chief Executive of MoneyExpert.com.

“We can all give into temptation at Christmas and put it on plastic but if the debt lingers from year to year you’re starting to get into trouble. Borrowing money is fine as long as you have a repayment plan, "he said, "Unfortunately it appears millions of us do not.

"And with lenders getting tough that is not a good position to be in. If you’ve not cleared the debts of Christmas past it is time to face up to the future.”

© Fair Investment Company Ltd

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