Credit cards in use to fund day-to-day life

Over 12 million people will spend the first month of 2012 relying on their credit cards simply to fund day-to-day living costs, according to the fifth annual Post Office Consumer Credit Report.

This figure, which is a two per cent increase on 2011’s data, represents 36 per cent of credit card holders. The report also revealed 42 per cent of credit card holders are expecting to use their cards for grocery shopping.

More than two million people are planning to put more on plastic in January 2012 compared with January 2011, the report found. Thirty eight per cent plan to increase their spending by up to £200.

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Ten per cent of those using their credit card in January said they will need to pay off outstanding Christmas costs and debts, while seven per cent said they will need to use their credit card in January to pay their domestic bills.

A third admitted they will use their credit card to fund January sales shopping and almost a quarter said they will use their card to book a holiday in January.

The report highlighted, as a result of paying off a credit card balance, 21 per cent said they will need to budget more carefully throughout 2012, with an additional six per cent anticipating they will be seriously over stretched due to their debts.

The study also revealed one in five men having three or more cards compared to 17 per cent of women owning the same amount. Those in the East of England are the biggest multi-card culprits, with 27 per cent of them owning three or more cards.