Spending on credit at christmas... but watch out for the new year debt hangover

Equifax reveals that 54%of credit card holders pay off the full balance every month

The latest credit card deals are now being advertised with some companies offering 27-months* interest-free on purchases. And new YouGov** research commissioned by credit information provider, Equifax, reveals that 1 in 10 shoppers have already got ahead of the game, perhaps in preparation for the festive season, confirming they have taken out a balance transfer credit card in the last 6 months.

According to the Equifax research, credit card holders in London appear to be the most savvy when it comes to signing up to a balance transfer deal – at 15% - closely followed by those living in the Midlands (3%).

“Our research suggests that some people rely on credit cards to manage their existing debt”, explains Lisa Hardstaff, Equifax credit information expert.  “Christmas can be an expensive time of year, it is therefore worth budgeting effectively so that ‘bill shock’ doesn’t hit when credit card statements drop through the letter box in the New Year.”

Almost a quarter of those surveyed by YouGov about their card spending habits confirmed they spend between £500 and £2,000 on their credit and store cards each month. The figure rises to 30% of those who live in London compared to 19% of those who live in the North.  And only just over half (54%) pay off the full balance in the average month, with 18 to 24 year olds the least likely to pay off the full balance (34%).

“The credit card providers who are currently promoting the 0% and balance transfer deals may only offer them to consumers who don’t appear to be over-stretching themselves financially ”, adds Lisa Hardstaff.  “Lenders will therefore want to see that a new credit card applicant has kept up repayments in the past. They will also be interested in their current financial commitments.   

“Now is a good time to get a copy of your credit report to ensure that all the information is correct. By applying for your credit report before applying for credit you can check all the information is correct and up to date.  Armed with our key facts and tips, consumers can help boost their chances of getting the best deals and stay in control of their finances.”

The Equifax Credit Report is accessible for 30 days free simply by logging onto https://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 £14.95 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.

* Love Money - https://www.lovemoney.com/creditcards#/?sortingcode=exceptionFilterD&sortingdirection=primary&page=1&isZeroPurchases=true

**All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,012 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 6th - 7th October 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

For further press information, please contact: Clare Watson, Cecile Stearn, Parm Heer or Wendy Harrison at HSL on 020 8977 9132 / Fax: 020 8977 5200 or Email: equifaxbtocteam@harrisonsadler.com

About Equifax

Equifax is a global leader in consumer, commercial and workforce information solutions that provide businesses of all sizes and consumers with insight and information they can trust. Equifax organizes and assimilates data on more than 600 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide.  The company’s significant investments in differentiated data, its expertise in advanced analytics to explore and develop new multi-source data solutions, and its leading-edge proprietary technology enable it to create and deliver unparalleled customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 19 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index.  Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. In 2013, Equifax was named a Bloomberg BusinessWeek Top 50 company, was #3 in Fortune's Most Admired list in its category, and was named to InfoWeek 500 as well as the FinTech 100. For more information, please visit www.equifax.com.

Equifax Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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