16% of Britons take out credit with no intention of paying it back
New Equifax research* identifies consumer attitudes to repaying their debts – and highlights the potential consequences of non-payment
New YouGov research commissioned by credit information provider, Equifax, sheds light on consumer attitudes to repaying debts. The survey of 2,010 people found that 16% of Britons have taken out credit with no intention of paying it back, and half of those would consider repeating the behaviour – becoming serial non-payers. Men are more than twice as likely to repeat the practice, compared to women at 11% and 5% respectively.
Analysis of the research findings also reveals that the youngest generation are not the greatest culprits. 11% of 35-44 year olds have taken this action and would do it again compared to 5% of 18-25 year olds, the lowest percentage of all the age groups surveyed
The results also showed that 10% of those in employment have taken out credit with no intention of paying any or all of it back, compared to 17% of unemployed people.
In total, 19% of people answered that they would consider taking out (or had taken out) credit with no intention of paying any or all of it back. 31% of these people said that this would most likely be (or had been) prompted by a difficult financial situation.
Of all those who said they have taken credit with no intention of paying it back, 9% – of which 12% were men and 5% were women – said they would not care about the consequences of paying it back.
Equifax is concerned that serial non-payers are not realising the long-term consequences of their actions, Andrew Webb, Head of Equifax Personal Solutions explained:
“Information about an individual’s payment history stays on their credit file for 6 years and if they have a pattern of non-payment this is likely to be viewed negatively by organisations in the future. Whilst some people may feel that lenders are ‘fair game’, the reality is that checks against credit information are made for even small financial commitments such as a mobile phone agreement. Deliberate defaulting could, therefore, impact someone’s day to day life, particularly as there is now even more focus on consumer indebtedness and affordability.”
For individuals concerned that previous non-payment of credit might be affecting their credit status, Equifax suggests they review a copy of their credit report. The Equifax Credit Report is accessible for 30 days free simply by logging onto www.equifax.co.uk/Products/credit/credit-score.html If customers do not cancel before the end of the 30 Day Free Trial, the service will continue at £7.95 per month, giving them unlimited online access to their credit information and weekly alerts on any changes to their credit file. It also includes an online dispute facility to help them correct any errors on their credit file simply and quickly.
*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2010 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th and 7th November 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
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