UK’s Credit Card Debts Reach Record High

December 1, 2016

The scale of credit card debt being carried collectively by UK consumers has reached an unprecedented high, according to official figures from the Bank of England.

As much as £66.2 billion worth of credit card debt is now understood to be outstanding among individuals and households throughout the country, with that figure having risen by some £571 million during September of this year alone.

The sharp rise in the use of credit card debt has been attributed in part to the growing prevalence of zero per cent interest deals being offered by credit card companies.

Growth in consumer debt though is not limited to credit cards, with consumer credit as a whole having also seen a very notable increase in recent quarters.

According to the Bank of England’s latest figures, there was a 10.5 per cent increase in the scale of overall consumer debt between October of this year and the same point in 2015, which represents the sharpest such rise over the course of 12 months since 2005.

Some economists have suggested that the figures reflect a growing confidence among UK consumers but there are also concerns that many people are being allowed to take on more debt than they can afford.

“Consumer credit is rising at its fastest rate for over a decade and the amount owed on credit cards continues to hit record levels,” noted Peter Tutton, head of policy with the debt charity StepChange.

“With Christmas on the horizon, there is a real risk of adding to the millions of people already struggling with high levels of persistent debt,” he said.

Tutton went on to say that it is “vital” for lenders to carry out “thorough affordability checks” in order to make sure that the deals they offer their customers don’t lead them towards serious financial hardship.

“When people do find themselves in persistent debt, lenders need to help identify them early and offer the vital assistance they need,” he added.

If you live in Scotland and are finding it difficult to manage your finances or your personal debts then Scotland Debt Solutions can help. Contact one of our offices directly to find out how we can help and to arrange a free and confidential consultation.