Some 36% of credit card holders will be relying on their cards to fund day to day living costs this January and some will be relying on them to pay of outstanding Christmas costs and debts.
According to the latest annual Post Office Consumer Credit Report, over 12 million people will be relying on their credit cards for essential purchases in January – some 42% will be relying on their cards to buy their grocery shopping.
Almost one in ten will need to use their credit card in January to pay their domestic bills and a third will use them to fund January sales shopping.
As many turn to book their holiday, almost a quarter will use their credit card to make the booking.
This use of cards will mean better budget management for many if they are going to be able to pay off outstanding balances this year. Of concern though is that a number are anticipating they will be seriously over stretched due to their debts.
Post Office Head of Credit Cards Az Alibhai said: “We urge cardholders to check out their interest charges and consider switching to a deal with a zero per cent offer on purchases and balance transfers.
“People with debts spread across different cards may benefit from consolidating their debts on to one card to make them easier to manage and to further reduce the amount of interest being paid.”
MoneyHighStreet comments: “Using a credit card has to be done with caution – don’t overspend to the point that you cannot repay the outstanding balance.
“Spending money that you don’t have and resorting to borrowing money can be a disaster unless you take time to ensure you can realistically afford to repay the loan or perhaps credit card at an agreed point in time.
“Using a credit card may seem attractive, particularly if you have a 0% purchases deal for a time, however, your balance will need to be paid off. Make sure you can do this without risking falling into debt.
“If you are concerned that your debt is getting out of control, the sooner you take action to get it back under control the better. It is unlikely to go away without concerted action, if need be seek professional debt advice.”
At the time of writing credit card deals you may want to consider include
Halifax All in One card – offering 0% on purchases for up to 15 months and 0% on balance transfers for up to 15 months – see the Halifax website for more details and to apply.
Post Office Credit Card – offering 0% on purchases for 3 months and 0% on balance transfers for 14 months. Customers also benefit from zero per cent on new balance transfers for five months for the second and third year. There is also 0% commission on foreign purchases. See the Post Office website for more details and to apply.