MoneySuperMarket has reported that 37% of Britons have been saddled with credit card debt for up to 10 years.
This equates to 19 million people who have been reliant on plastic for up to a decade.
This comes as the credit card reaches its 50th anniversary this week
The analysis found as many as 70% of UK adults currently own a credit card, with 35% having more than one. Credit card holders have owned a card for an average length of 16 years.
61% of credit card holders currently owe money on it, with the average amount being £891, increasing to £1,215 for 18 to 34 year olds. On average, this debt has been sitting there for over two years (27 months), rising to 37 months among 35 to 54 year olds.
Overall, 38% of UK credit card holders do not clear their balance in full at the end of each month, with just 28% managing to pay off more than the minimum amount required, and 8% paying off just the minimum amount. A further 2% struggle to or can never afford to pay off the minimum amount each month.
26% of those who don’t clear their credit card debt in full each month admitted they’ve never managed to do this. A further 37% have only occasionally managed to pay off their balance in full, while another 28% have managed to settle their debt in the past, but haven’t done so recently.
The credit card landscape continues to change as providers adapt to ever changing market conditions. Balance transfer card providers have waged war to gain top spot, and the 0% interest duration has increased from just 12 months in 2006 to as long as 40 months today. The largest movements in this area have occurred over the last three years, with balance transfer lengths increasing from 26 months to 40 months in this period. Furthermore, providers have recently been slashing their balance transfer fees too, however there is currently only 0.04% difference between the leading three cards, showing how tight the market is becoming.
Kevin Mountford, spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket, said: “We’ve come a long way since the first credit card was created 50 years ago – now there is a huge variety of products to suit different types of spending, and consumers have been able to benefit from increasing rivalry between providers. The balance transfer card market has been extremely competitive with providers increasing the duration of the fee free period, and cutting fees. It’ll be interesting to see how much longer this competition can last but consumers should make the most of the deals whilst they can.
“The added consideration, following last week’s decision, is around Brexit. There’s been a number of new EU regulations on credit cards, most recently on interchange fees. But it would be very unlikely that any of these are reversed in the near future, and seeing the credit card is a global market, we wouldn’t expect to see any changes in the short term.”