31st December 2015
The vast majority of Britons are set to start the New Year significantly in the red on their credit cards as a result of over-spending during the festive season, according to new research.
The analysis from uSwitch.com found that a massive nine out of 10 people, at 87%, will face a typical debt of £2,400.
Those struggling think they will take about 17 months to clear the balance.
But nearly half, at 47%, expect to still be paying off this year’s festive debt when next Christmas rolls around while 6% said they cannot ever imagine being debt free.
Given the comparison site found that more than a quarter, at 27% of people considered going into debt in order to afford Christmas presents for friends and family this year, it is no surprise that 10% expect to start the New Year more reliant on their credit card than before the festive period.
More than two thirds, at 67%, are concerned about their level of debt in the New Year and 10% feel extremely worried.
But it is important for people to know that they are not alone and there are steps they can take to lessen the burden. This can include getting some breathing space by moving existing debts to a card that charges 0% interest on balance transfers.
Shifting the average debt of £2,400 to a 0% balance transfer card could save people £380 over the course of a year in interest fees alone – even after paying an average transfer fee.
For anyone looking for more advice on how to deal with debt, charities such as StepChange Debt Charity and Money Advice Service can help.
Nicolas Frankcom, money expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Overspending during the festive period will leave many with a financial hangover, but they cannot afford to stick their head in the sand. By taking a quick look at their finances, consumers could save a considerable amount of money – and start taking steps to get back into the black.
“Balance transfer cards with an interest-free period could be a lifeline for those needing some breathing space from debt. Those looking to transfer should do their research to find the right card by looking carefully at any transfer fees, not just the length of the 0% offer.
“It’s not just card debt though, shopping around for the best deals on things like energy, broadband, insurance and mobile phone tariffs could help consumers save over £1,000.”
For those who cannot see a way out of your current level of debt there is help out there. Contact StepChange Debt Charity or the Money Advice Service for free and impartial advice to get your debt under control.