Minimum credit card repayments could cost borrowers more than they realise
The Debt Advisory Centre advises credit card borrowers to make sure they have a plan of action for repaying their debts.
Oct. 31, 2011 - PRLog -- The Debt Advisory Centre has advised credit card borrowers to make sure they have a plan of action for repaying their debts in good time - commenting that making only the minimum repayment each month could add a significant amount to how much they pay in the long run.
A recent survey by R3 found that almost half of people in the UK say they are concerned about their debts - 53% of whom report credit card debts as a major worry.
Yet credit cards remain one of the most popular ways to make payments in the UK, with many people using them for general day-to-day spending.
Credit card borrowers who repay their balance on time don't pay interest on the debt, but those who allow their balance to carry over will pay interest on the balance. According to the Bank of England, the average credit card rate is currently around 17%.
That means borrowers making only the minimum repayments on their debts could repay a lot more than they initially borrowed. A 3% minimum monthly payment on a £1,000 credit card debt with a 17% interest rate would mean the debt takes just under four years to pay off, and the overall interest paid would come to £363.
By contrast, making regular £100 payments would reduce the repayment period to 11 months, with just under £86 of interest paid.
An expert at the Debt Advisory Centre commented:
"It can be tempting to make just the minimum monthly payment on a credit card, but some borrowers may not realise quite how much more they are paying by repaying the debt in this way.
"It could be argued that this isn't necessarily a problem as long as the borrower can afford their repayments, but repaying the debt sooner also means it is a burden for less time - and that means less time in which something could go wrong.
"Especially in the current financial climate, we'd strongly advise anyone with credit card debts to put together a budget plan and see how much they can comfortably afford to repay towards their credit card each month.
"Anyone struggling to manage their debts - especially if other debts are holding them back - should seek expert debt advice. Depending on the circumstances, a debt adviser may be able to help them find a solution, such as a debt management plan, that could help to make their debts more affordable."
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The Debt Advisory Centre offers expert debt advice, as well as a range of debt solutions for people facing financial difficulties.