UK Consumers Seeking Greater Access to Credit, With Demand for Credit Cards on the Rise

Only half of UK consumers currently feel that they have sufficient access to credit, according to figures revealed in TransUnion’s latest Consumer Pulse study. 

Despite the majority of consumers (71%) acknowledging the importance of credit in helping them achieve their financial goals, just 49% say that they have sufficient access. In fact, almost a fifth (18%) state they don’t have enough access to the finance they need.i 

Of those consumers seeking new credit in the year ahead, an increasing proportion – 48% – are looking to take out credit cards, up from 38% in Q2 2022.  

Kelli Fielding, managing director of consumer interactive at TransUnion in the UK, said: “It’s important that consumers understand how their credit report and score can help them with access to finance, so they can take the right steps to protect their financial standing in times of economic uncertainty. The data shows an increasing demand for credit cards but it’s essential that these are well managed to protect your credit score, with payments made on time, or early, avoiding high balances where possible.” 

The data illustrates that education is having a positive impact on consumer credit habits and awareness. Three quarters of UK consumers (77%) agreed that monitoring their credit is important, and nearly six in 10 (58%) said they do so at least quarterly. 

Whilst the majority of UK consumers (74%) expect to be able to pay all their upcoming bills and loans in full, the current economic picture is having a significant impact on spending. 

Close to 60% of consumers surveyed indicated they’d already decreased discretionary spend in the last three months – such as dining out, travel and entertainment – and a similar proportion (58%) intend to make further reductions in the next three months. Many plan to shift their spending toward bills and loans like utilities, insurance and credit cards (62%) instead.  

There is something of a generational divide, however, with nearly six in 10 Gen Z consumers (57%) saying they won’t be cutting back discretionary spend, and 30% intending to increase retail spending, such as fashion, over the next three months. 

Andy Piggott, director of core credit at TransUnion in the UK, added: “With rising utility bills and a divergence in spending behaviours across the generations, it’s essential that lenders have up-to-date information on an individual’s financial position. TransUnion’s affordability solutions allow lenders to understand their customers on a deeper level, leading to better informed decisions that benefit all parties.” 

The full update from TransUnion’s Q3 Consumer Pulse study is available here. 


i TransUnion’s Consumer Pulse Q3 2022 UK Study, based on a survey of 1,005 UK adults from 19 Aug.–29 Aug., 2022