Debt struggles exacerbated by pandemic

One in three people are struggling to keep up with their bills or credit commitments, according to research published today by StepChange Debt Charity. That’s the double the number who were struggling before the pandemic hit.

The charity says 3.5 million people in Britain have used credit to pay essential bills in the last year. The findings chime with Intrum’s European Consumer Payment Report, published at the end of 2021. It found that almost a third (30 per cent) of those in the UK had borrowed money or reached their credit card limit to pay bills in the last six months.

“StepChange’s research suggests that only one in four of those who take negative coping actions to keep up with credit and bill repayments been in contact with, or received support from, a bank or firm,” says Eddie Nott, Intrum’s MD for the UK and Ireland. “Concerns over credit reporting and the stigma of being in debt are stopping them seeking help.”

“With costs such as energy bills set to rise, it is more important than ever that consumers seek help from their lenders, reputable debt advisers and credit management firms. Consumers are coming under increasing pressure and the industry needs to work with those struggling to find solutions that are affordable, sustainable and reduce the worry and strain.”

He adds: “It is important that consumers have a positive and supportive experience with us – our advisers will help resolve their debt issues without judgement.”

For more information:

Problem debt and the credit safety net - StepChange

European Consumer Payment Report 2021 – UK Edition