Still paying for last year's Christmas

05 December 2006
Over four million Britons are still suffering the financial after effects of their credit card spending from last Christmas, according to a new study.

Research from shows that over 4.2 million credit card customers, equivalent to one in eight of those polled, still have outstanding debts from last Christmas that have yet to be cleared.

The average time taken to clear debts after last Christmas was 2.6 months, while 1.4 million people took three months to clear their credit card balance.

Chief executive of Sean Gardner said: "Christmas is a time for giving and it looks like we are definitely giving our credit cards a battering over the festive season."

Mr Gardner said that while it is tempting to charge Christmas to credit cards, millions of British households were overstretching themselves.

Experts are forecasting that an estimated £11.4 billion will be put on credit cards this festive season, despite the fact that interest rates are at a five-year high.

Christmas spending of £1,000 put on an average credit card will cost the cardholder around £169 over the next year at an average APR of 16.9 per cent.

Mr Gardner cautioned consumers that they should reign in their Christmas spending to a level that they can afford: "Getting into debt is fine as long as you have the means to get out of it."

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