Many planning credit card debt shuffle

Nearly a third of credit cardholders plan to shift debt between cards during 2011 to take advantage of a lower interest rate.

Around 31 per cent of people with outstanding credit card debt said in a survey that they plan to transfer an average of 1,015 between plastic this year, and just over half of them will do so during the coming three months, according to high street bank Santander.

But the amount people plan to transfer between cards has fallen steeply during the past two years and is less than half the 2,290 consumers planned to shift at the end of 2008.

Many people are still repaying debts they accrued some time ago, with four out of 10 people admitting they still owed money they spent last Christmas.

Ian Coles, director of Santander Cards, said: "Our research shows that millions of people are switched on to the benefits of transfer offers and are choosing to take a proactive approach to managing their money, which is great to see.

"The fact that the average amount being transferred has fallen considerably over the past couple of years would also suggest that consumers have reined in their spending and that credit cards are being increasingly well managed.

"January can be a particularly tough time financially, which is why we encourage consumers to keep a close eye on their finances and to shop around to ensure that they are receiving the best rates."

Men are more likely to be planning a balance transfer than women, with 37 per cent with outstanding credit card debt intending to shift it between cards during the coming year, compared with just 25 per cent of women.

But women are expecting to transfer a higher amount, at an average of 1,151, compared with men's 942.

Young people are the most likely to move debt between credit cards, with 41 per cent of people aged between 18 and 34 planning to take advantage of an introductory 0 per cent or low-interest deal, something only 14 per cent of the over-55s intend to do.