Consumers more confident about their debt

Debt is cheaper than ever but there are concerns about the consequences for borrowers of a  rise in interest rates
Debt is cheaper than ever but there are concerns about the consequences for borrowers of a rise in interest rates

The vast majority of people with debts such as personal loans, credit cards and overdrafts are feeling confident about their ability to repay what they owe, a report has found.

But while 83 per cent of those surveyed are either confident or very confident about meeting their future repayments, one in 33 (3%) are not at all confident about their ability to do so, the research from Lloyds Bank found.

And one in 10 of people surveyed were not very confident about keeping on top of their repayments, while a further five per cent were unsure.

The research was carried out among nearly 4,000 people aged between 18 and 75 years old who hold at least one type of non-mortgage debt between January and March.

Men were found to be more bullish than women about their ability to manage their repayments, with 45 per cent of men feeling very confident, compared with 40 per cent of women.

Men were also more likely to be planning to use a loan to fund an anniversary, with 22 per cent of men planning to do this, compared with eight per cent of women, the Lending Report found.

The main reasons people gave for taking out a loan were to consolidate their existing debts in one place, to buy a car or a bike and to make home improvements.

One in eight (12%) people surveyed said they had borrowed to fund a special occasion. Seven in 10 (70%) of people who had done this had borrowed money to pay for Christmas, while nearly half (46%) did so to pay for someone else’s birthday.

Last week, a Bank of England report showed that consumers’ borrowing on personal loans, overdrafts and credit cards surged by £1.2 billion in March - marking the strongest growth seen since 2008.

According to financial information website Moneyfacts, average personal loan rates fell to a record low in February this year.

Moneyfacts said that a year ago, the average rate on the market for someone looking to borrow £5,000 over three years was 9.1 per cent. By February this year, that had fallen to 8.1 per cent - the lowest average rate since the website’s records started in 2007. The average rate for this type of loan has edged up slightly since February, to 8.4 per cent.

But some experts have raised concerns that the Bank’s figures could be a sign that consumers are piling up debt to fund their spending in the low interest rate environment.