Londoners Lackadaisical When It Comes To Debt

10 April 2005

Almost six out of ten Londoners don't know how much they owe and eight out of ten say this does not concern them according to the latest research by credit reference agency Callcredit.

The research revealed that 80 per cent of Londoners were comfortable with their levels of debt and 42% know exactly how much they owe, statistics which are close to the national average. Nine per cent of Londoners admit to not having a clue how much their debts add up to, but that is the lowest percentage of any region in the UK.

The figures are in stark contrast to Scotland, where only 22 per cent of people know exactly what their outstanding credit commitments are and a further 22 per cent admit to not having a clue.

Callcredit director Alison Nicholson warns: "Londoners display a lackadaisical approach to debt which is typical of the UK as a whole.

"The findings of our survey are disturbing. People need to monitor their levels of debt so they can manage it effectively, having a carefree attitude towards their borrowing is leaving people open to financial fraud and overindebtedness."

Men, it seems, are more conscientious than women when it comes to checking the state of their credit finances. Nearly one in five women confesses to being totally in the dark about the scale of their personal debts whereas for men the figure is closer to one in 10.

Callcredit's survey also revealed that people become far more credit-savvy the older they get. Over 60% of people aged 65 and over said they knew precisely how much they owed and 90% said they felt they were living comfortably within their credit limits.

Young people aged 16-24, by contrast, are the most credit ignorant. Although 92% said they were comfortable with their debts, almost four out of five in this age range said they weren't sure what their outstanding commitments added up to while one in three confirmed they had no idea.

Meanwhile, people aged 45-54 appear more concerned about debt. One in four (25%) say they are either at their credit limit or overstretched. And a similar percentage in the 25-34 age range, who are no doubt finding partners, buying properties and starting families, feel the same way.

"With identity fraud increasing year on year the serious underlying message from this survey is there is too much consumer ignorance and apathy towards debt. If people don't know what their commitments are how can they be expected to spot fraud before it becomes a major problem for them?"

added Alison Nicholson.

Callcredit offers online access to the information lenders use to assess their creditworthiness through www.mycallcredit.com. It shows people what credit commitments are registered in their name and provides an alert service via text message or email if a significant change takes place on their record.

"myCallcredit empowers consumers to take better care of and more responsibility for the state of their finances,"

emphasised Callcredit's Alison Nicholson.

Back