Money Wellness
illustrated man struggles under burden of big credit cards
category icondebts
calendar icon20 Mar 2024

UK population relying more on credit products

Credit card debt isn’t the only increase happening with the UK population’s debts. Overdrafts, mortgages, student debts and buy now pay later loans are all on the rise, data from Equifax shows.

The rising cost of living has caused people to turn to more credit products and deferring payments or spreading out debts for longer.

Beth Whelan, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at TDX Group, an Equifax group company based in the UK, said, “Given the signs of finances being spread too thin, more and more people are relying on credit to keep up with the current cost of living and are shouldering their debts for longer.”

Credit card debt

Credit card debt has hit 43% of people recently, as the debt itself rose almost 10% in a year.

The number of cards with at least 90% utilisation has risen by 10%, with a similar increase observed in cards going over their credit limits.

Mortgage debt

Homeowners affected by higher interest rates are choosing extended loan terms so they can spread the cost.

The data found that in November, over 10% of mortgage organisations were at loan terms of more than 35 years.

Buy now pay later debts

The data for these loans shows that 48% of UK adults have now used a loan like this. 7.4 million people used this payment method for the first time last year, which points to ongoing cost of living crisis.

Meanwhile, overdrafts have affected 22% of people, while 19% are in student debt.

Looking for debt help?

Being in debt can be scary, but you’re not alone, and we can help.

Our free debt advice is available to people all over the UK, online or over the phone. We’ll go through your finances in detail and explain your options. You might be surprised at the range of help available. We can:

  • check you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to
  • help you with budgeting
  • advise you on debt solutions

 There are various debt solutions available that reduce your monthly debt repayments and even write off some of your debt. We’ll let you know if any of them are suitable for you. All our advice is free. Some debt solutions are free, while others come with a fee. We’ll give you all the information you need to make an informed decision and, if we recommend a debt solution and you decide to go ahead, we’ll help get it set up.

You should also make sure you’re getting all the benefits you may be entitled to.


Avatar of Lydia Bell-Jones

Lydia Bell-Jones

With a background in banking, Lydia has been writing professionally for over five years. She is passionate about helping people improve their personal finances and has a particular interest in the connection between money and mental health.

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