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Consumers Need To Take A 'Close Look' At Borrowing Habits

Nov 14, 2007
As the end of the year approaches more people are set to turn towards lending as a means of supplementing their spending, new research shows.

Following analysis of figures from the Bank of England, Callcredit states that consumer borrowing, whether this is through home loans or other means, is due to rise in the remaining weeks of 2007. Meanwhile, credit card borrowing during December 2006 accounted for some 60 per cent of the total lending via the type of plastic card over the course of last year, with analysts suggesting that this proportion is on track to increase next month.

Commenting on the figures, Mark Ward, head of consumer services from the credit reference agency, said: "From our review of these statistics and in spite of the widely reported credit crunch, we're still anticipating that many consumers will turn to credit at Christmas in order to fund their spending. Worryingly, it could be these people who may find it more difficult or expensive to borrow on credit".

"Our own research shows that 75 per cent of consumers believe that they're not responsible for overindebtedness, but it is important to remember that responsible borrowing goes hand-in-hand with responsible lending. Consumers need to look closely at their own borrowing habits and take control of their finances before they get into financial difficulties."

As a result, Mr Ward stated that consumers should not bury their heads in the sand when it comes to handling their money in the wake of spending over the Christmas period. He advised people worried about their levels of debt to contact the lender who originally issued them their personal loan or other form of borrowing and explain their circumstances. In addition, he advised consumers to get themselves a copy of their financial history, as by doing so they will be able to check all of their outstanding balances and spot any discrepancies. The financial expert also pointed out that cash withdrawals from a credit card are charged at a higher rate of interest than purchases, which in turn could increase consumers' financial pressures in the long-run.

Meanwhile, those concerned that they are developing unmanageable problems in terms of meeting demands for repayment on loans and other financial products were urged to seek out guidance from a professional advisory service; for instance the Consumer Credit Counselling Service or Citizens Advice.

Earlier this month, research conducted by Savebuckets revealed that some 41 per cent of Britons made use of some form of credit to finance their spending in December 2006, while a fifth of those consumers who used a credit card over last Christmas were still making repayments more than ten months after the event had ended. Meanwhile, Marc Ames, marketing manager for the website, reported that rising living costs and interest rate increases are set to constrain consumers' ability to spend even more this year. Consequently, those concerned that they may be develop monetary difficulties, may wish to take out a cheap loan which could be a more competitive way to borrow than a credit card in the run-up to Christmas.
About the Author
Steve Smith writes for 1 Stop Finance Shop, where our visitors have access to all types of finance from payday loans and unsecured tenant loans, to self employed loans for homeowners.
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