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Missing Payments 'Could Cause Credit File Damage'

Jan 13, 2008
Missing payments on loans, credit cards and other sources of financial demand could be place many consumers under more financial pressure than they originally think, new research shows.

Findings from moneysupermarket reveal that about 5.5 million were not able to meet a demand on their spending over the course of 2007. Overall, credit card repayments were indicated as being the most likely bills to be missed, accounting for seven per cent. Indeed, this was shown to have outstripped loans, electricity bills, mobile phones, satellite television and internet debts combined. However, by failing to make payments on any one of these areas was suggested as potentially doing damage to their credit report.

Such damage to a financial file could well mean that consumers see that their access to cheap loans and other types of low-rate borrowing is reduced.

Research from the price comparison website also indicated that people over the age of 25 are the most likely to miss credit card bills. In particular it was suggested that 25 to 34-year-olds will not be able to not meet such demands on their spending, with 12 per cent of people from this age group failing to so. Meanwhile, some five per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds have missed payments on mobile phone bills, the highest proportion out of all Britons.

Commenting on the study, Steve Willey, head of credit cards for moneysupermarket, said: "Close to three million credit card holders will have paid out over 35 million pounds between them in penalty fees. But it is the damage to their credit rating that is more costly to them and to the other 2.5 million consumers who have missed payments elsewhere. Consumers may feel by missing a payment they're saving a few pounds but in the long run, missing the occasional payment will affect your credit rating as lenders assess your overall ability to repay on a regular basis.

He suggested that by making sure they are able to make repayments, consumers may be more likely to secure access to cheap loans and other forms of competitively-priced borrowing in the future. Mr Willey added: "It's vital consumers do everything they can to protect their credit rating and this means keeping payments up to date. A poor credit score stays with you for a long time and can mean being rejected for credit or being offered a product at a worse rate."

The moneysupermarket head went on to suggest that it is always better for consumers to make the minimum monthly balance on demands for payment on credit cards, loans and bills "rather than not pay anything at all". He stated that by setting up a direct debit system, consumers may find that they are constantly able to meet demands on their spending. This, Mr Willey claimed, could be the first step for many people in protecting their credit file.

For people worried that they will be unable to manage various demands on their spending, applying for a debt consolidation loan could provide useful help. Such a loan may see borrowers merge numerous constraints on finances into a single low-rate loan. Debt consolidation might be of particular help to consumers struggling with their money management in the wake of Christmas. Last month, James Falla, director for Thomas Charles, suggested that the new year is "absolutely the right time" for consumers to get to grips with their finances.
About the Author
Steve Smith writes for 1 Stop Finance Shop, a one stop, Personal Loans Shop, with information on bad credit loans and debt consolidation loans available on site.
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