Many thousands of young Brits are being actively encouraged towards taking on debt and spending borrowed money even before they reach their 18th birthdays.
That’s according to the price comparison website comparethemarket.com, whose research suggests that roughly one in four 16 and 17 year olds in the UK have been offered credit cards or asked whether they’d be interested in access to credit.
That figure is based on the results of a poll involving 1,000 16 to 17 year olds, all of whom aren’t legal eligible to use a credit card until they turn 18.
Research by the same company also found that close to a third of 18 year olds in the UK already use either a credit card, an overdraft or a personal loan, with 54,000 having apparently already taken out a personal loan before they’ve reached the age of 19.
Meanwhile, around 27 per cent of the 16 and 17 year olds quizzed by comparethemarket.com said that they don’t feel completely in control of their finances.
The worry for many observers is that a growing number of young Britons are normalising debt at a very young age and accessing debt-based financial products almost as soon as they are legally able to do so.
“It’s vital that young people grow up to understand that money matters,” says Shakila Hashmi, head of money at comparethemarket.com.
“Far too often we see a culture of spending being encouraged which the majority of youngsters simply cannot continue. It’s up to the banks to consider what products are being pushed to what people, and at what age.”
A recent report published by the UK Gambling Commission suggested that gambling is also becoming a serious problem among young people throughout the country.
In fact, the commission’s report said that there are roughly 25,000 people aged between 11 and 16 who could already be categorised as ‘problem gamblers’.
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