Pensioners have an average of £3,500 in credit card debts, survey reveals

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10th May 2018 17:27 - Financial Services

Pensioners have an average of £3,500 in credit card debts: Debts are mounting for British pensioners as they turn to credit cards to pay unexpected bills, a survey has found. 
 
The research, on behalf of equity release provider, Key Retirement, also found that almost 20 per cent of retirees are struggling to pay the debt back. 
 
Unanticipated bills were found to be a major cause of credit card debt, with 18 per cent saying this was the reason they had to go into the red. 
 
The most common reason for credit card spending was for car repairs with just under half of respondents (49%) having to turn to their plastic to pay the bill. Other reasons were cited as home repairs (39%) and helping their children out financially (19%). 
 
While the average balance owed was £3,500, this figure was greater in the West Midlands where debts amounted to £4,700. Pensioners in the north west and north east amassed slightly less at £3,900. 
 
Paying back the money 
 
The survey also found that of all the retirees spending on credit cards, 61 per cent believe they will be able to settle the debts quickly, while 29 per cent anticipate that time frame will be closer to five years. Six per cent of respondents are unsure if they will ever be able to repay the money owed. 
 
Dean Mirfin of Key Retirement said:  "It is not possible to plan for everything and sometimes an unexpected bill will mean having to rely on credit cards to fund it.
 
"The problem then compounds itself if people cannot clear the balance and get caught by another surprise bill.
 
“Unfortunately, it all adds up, which means a serious financial burden in retirement. People need to get help and look at all their assets which should include their property if they are a homeowner.”

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