North and Borders happy in the dark when it comes to debt
People in the North and Borders region are more comfortable with their levels of debt than the UK as a whole despite 21 per cent of them not having a clue how much they owe according to the latest research by credit reference agency Callcredit.
The research revealed 84 per cent of people in the region were comfortable with their levels of debt compared to 80 per cent nationwide and only 3 per cent of people felt they were stretched - the lowest of any region in the UK. A further 13 per cent said they were coping but couldn't afford to take on any more credit commitments.
But despite being comfortable with their levels of debt those in the North and Borders region are more than twice as likely as someone living in London or the South to be clueless about what they owe.
Callcredit director Alison Nicholson warns:
"The findings of our survey are disturbing. To be comfortable with your debt you need to know how much you owe but people in the North and Borders region are languishing towards the bottom of the awareness scale.
"Having a carefree attitude towards their borrowing is leaving people open to financial fraud and overindebtedness."
Overall men, it seems, are more conscientious than women when it comes to checking the state of their credit finances. Nearly one in five women confesses to being totally in the dark about the scale of their personal debts whereas for men the figure is closer to one in 10.
Callcredit's survey also revealed that people become far more credit-savvy the older they get. Over 60 per cent of people aged 65 and over said they knew precisely how much they owed and 90 per cent said they felt they were living comfortably within their credit limits.
By contrast young people aged 16-24 are the most credit ignorant. Although 92 per cent said they were comfortable with their debts, almost 80 per cent in this age range said they weren't sure what their outstanding commitments added up to while 33 per cent confirmed they had no idea.
People aged 45-54 appear more concerned about debt with the highest number of respondents (26 per cent) saying they are either at their credit limit or overstretched. A similar percentage (24 per cent) in the 25-34 age range feel the same way.
"With identity fraud increasing year on year the serious underlying message from this survey is there is too much consumer ignorance and apathy towards debt. If people don't know what their commitments are how can they be expected to spot fraud before it becomes a major problem for them?"
added Alison Nicholson.
Callcredit offers online access to the information lenders use to assess their creditworthiness through www.mycallcredit.com. It shows people what credit commitments are registered in their name and provides an alert service via text message or email if a significant change takes place on their record.
"myCallcredit empowers consumers to take better care of and more responsibility for the state of their finances,"
emphasised Callcredit's Alison Nicholson.