Yorkshire folk clueless when it comes to debt

Yorkshire folk are more than three times more likely to be clueless about what they owe than their counterparts in London and the South according to the latest research from credit reference agency Callcredit.

The research revealed 28 per cent of the county's population admitted to having no idea how much they owed compared to 9 per cent in London and the South. But despite being clueless 88 per cent said they were comfortable with their levels of debt.

However, the research also showed people in the county are some of the least likely to feel stretched and unable to service their debts and, providing they are not clueless, have a better than average chance of knowing exactly what their debts are - 44 per cent against a countrywide average of 41 per cent.

Callcredit director Alison Nicholson warns:

"It's staggering to think that more than one in four people in Yorkshire haven't got a clue how much they owe and even more surprising that only 3 per cent of its population feel their finances are stretched.

"People need to monitor their levels of debt so they can manage it effectively, 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.