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Consumers Under 'Needless' Financial Pressure

Nov 30, 2007
Many Britons are putting themselves under unnecessary financial pressure, new research indicates.

In a study conducted by the Motley Fool, the typical consumer is reported to have about two or three credit cards, with a fifth of these borrowers carrying over 1,137 pounds in debt each month. The findings also revealed that some Britons are leaving as much as 3,000 pounds unpaid on their cards. However, the financial services firm indicated that many people are placing themselves in preventable monetary strain with their cards due to money "sitting idle" in current accounts and savings schemes.

According to the Motley Fool, the average person has some 870 pounds in their current account ready for a 'rainy day', in addition to saving 300 pounds per month. In turn such money could help borrowers not only pay off credit card debts but also make repayments on utility bills, carry out home improvements or service secured personal loan costs.

Overall, an outstanding credit card balance of 1,100 pounds is reported to charge 15 per cent in interest. Yet, withholding the same money in a competitive savings account earns just six per cent interest. Consequently, the total 31 million credit cardholders in Britain are reported as paying some 3 billion pounds per year in unnecessary interest charges. As a result, this is a figure which could well have an effect on their ability to meet demands on other areas of their finances such as utility bills and mortgages. In addition, avoiding needless credit card repayments could help many people make payments on loans.

David Kuo, head of personal finance for the Motley Fool, said: "We are often told to put aside money for a rainy day because having a ready source of funds for emergencies is a sensible thing to do - and it is. But it makes little sense to have a stash of money earning interest at six per cent a year when a pile of debt is burning a hole in our finances at 15 per cent annually. Saving money before you have paid off your debts is like trying to fill a bath without putting the plug in first. It's a pointless exercise that results in a waste of water, an empty bath and hefty water bills."

Meanwhile, about one in six people who regularly have between 400 pounds and 500 pounds of debt on their credit cards each month have some 3,000 pounds put away for emergencies. Overall, those between the ages of 34 and 41 are most likely to have both credit card debt and money invested into savings accounts. Such people are about 1,000 pounds in the red via the form of plastic borrowing, yet also have 750 pounds put away for the future.

However for those who still find that they are struggling with managing their finances, applying for a loan to consolidate debts may be recommended. Such a low-cost loan could allow borrowers to pay off debts across a number of credit cards quickly, leaving them with a single monthly repayment. Taking out this type of loan could be advisable for many Britons after research conducted by Thomas Charles earlier this year showed that 8.2 million consumers have "serious" difficulties in managing their finances. Out of such people, about 2.1 million claim to be struggling paying back borrowing commitments such as plastic cards, secured loans and overdrafts.
About the Author
Mark Dawson writes for the Loan Arrangers. Where visitors can compare loans online, and apply for the best rate UK secured loans and the cheapest debt consolidation loans available to them.
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