New figures from National Debtline, the free advice service run by the Money Advice Trust show that the demand for debt advice is up this month.
The free advice service have confirmed that the number of received calls in the first 8 working days of January 2017 was up by 17 per cent compared to the same period last year in 2016.
The charity also confirmed that research carried out has shown a third of people in the UK put the majority of Christmas spending on credit, leaving an estimated 5.5 million people expecting to fall behind on credit following the yuletide period.
8,635 people were advised by National Debtline on the telephone up until 12th January 2017, against 7,381 last year. Whilst online enquiries rose more dramatically from 14,583 in 2016 to 22,581 this year.
The figures follow confirmation from the Bank of England that consumer credit grew by 11 per cent in the twelve months to November 2016 – the highest rate of growth since 2005.
Further National Debtline research, conducted online by YouGov, showed that many are not taking responsibility for their debt, with just one in eight British adults having a plan to repay any debts they currently owe.
Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline, said: “As the first credit card bills of 2017 begin to arrive through letterboxes this week, many people will be worrying about how to cope. At National Debtline we are seeing a big leap in the number of people coming to us for help online and by phone – and yet we know that many more will be struggling with financial problems on their own.
National Debtline have come up with three tips for dealing with credit card debts.
- Open your statements and reminders
It may feel like the last thing you want to do, but sit down and open all of your credit card statements and reminders. Next, make a list of what you owe, and the interest rate and payment dates for each. This is the first step to getting on top of your situation and taking action to reduce your debts.
- Set up a direct debit or reminders for payment dates
A good way to make sure you don’t miss payment dates is to sign up to make your monthly credit card payments by direct debit. Alternatively, if you prefer not to set up a direct debit, you can set reminders of when payments are due. This will help avoid missing payment dates which can lead to extra fees being added to your debts.
- If you are struggling to keep up, seek free advice
If you are unable to afford even your minimum payments or worry that you won’t be able to do so when your credit card bills arrive, then seek free and independent advice from a charity-run service like National Debtline as soon as possible.