Home » Finance » Credit

Plastic Madness: Britain's Credit Card Craze

Aug 28, 2008
Considering that they've been around for a fairly long time, it seems rather odd to describe credit and debit cards as being a national craze, but there really is no other way to describe Britain's obsession with plastic!

Since the concept of the credit card was first described in Edward Bellamy's utopian novel 'Looking Backward'; a book written in 1887 and set in the year 2000, credit cards have come a long way to the point where people are more comfortable paying with plastic than with cash.

According to a recent study by personal finance website 'Fool', 69% of people use credit or debit cards for everyday purchases, compared to only 29% using cash. As well as not using cash to make everyday payments, the research also revealed that less people than ever were withdrawing cash. A third of people admitted to carrying less than 10 on them at any time, and 47% of people said that they withdrew money once a week or less!

And without the hassle of having to go to the cash point, and fiddle with the change at the till, it is little wonder that Britain has seen a surge in plastic popularity. Figures from Apacs, the UK payments association, showed that between October and December 2007, 32.4 billion was spent on credit cards and 59 billion on debit cards. These sums reflected the highest figures on debit card records, and the second highest in credit card history.

Indeed, Britain's passion for plastic has even acquired a certain cult status. Switching credit cards in order to utilise credit card providers' 0% introductory offers, for example, has become somewhat fashionable, those who research the market and switch at the right times being nicknamed 'Rate Tarts'. Okay, maybe not the most glamorous of nicknames, but if you know when to switch and onto which credit cards, you'll wear that title with honour - and be laughing all the way to your new bank!

One thing to bear in mind if you're considering switching your card, or even giving the Rate Tart culture a go, is to be wary of how much you are spending, and to keep clear records of how much credit you do owe, and not to get in over your head. It seems simple, but it has been reported in recent times that around 3 million Britons are juggling more than 5 credit cards! David Kuo of Fool.co.uk stated in response to Britain's increased spending on plastic, that the figures were a reflection of Britain's increased reliance on credit, and the ease with which one can forget how much they're spending when suing plastic. Sean Gardner, chief executive of MoneyExpert.com supported this claim, adding that 3 million Britons juggling 5 or more credit cards suggested that they were using cards in the wrong way, and added that, although it is entirely healthy if people are switching debts from one card to another, in order to take advantage of the 0% balance transfer offers that new card users receive, owing money on a number of cards could land consumers in real trouble.
About the Author
This article has been written for information and interest purposes only. The information contained within this article is the opinion of the author only, and should not be construed as advice or used to make financial decisions. Expert financial advice should always be sought and any links contained within this article are included for information purposes only.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 661
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources