Turning to debit cards in the face of debt

debit cards

debit cardsAs families across the country battle to pay off their debts, it seems many of us are turning to debit cards.

Households are obviously keen to pay off their debts as quickly as possible, and it's just as well, as we typically each owe £7,900 in personal loans, overdrafts and credit cards.

So instead of taking out more credit, many are making use of debit cards. A report found usage actually grew by 10% last year, and we're now using them more than even cash when it comes to payments.

Each household paid off an average of around £355 of their unsecured debt in 2011, but UK homes remain "among the most indebted in the world" despite three successive years of net repayments, the report said.

However, the report predicted typical UK dwellers will continue their determination to pay down their debts, owing around £7,500 by 2013.

But it highlighted "worrying" signs in spending habits, particularly among the 25 to 34 age group, where a quarter have used credit to fund essential purchases in the last year.

Simon Westcott, director in PwC's financial services practice, which published the report, said: "The longer term trend suggests that numbers will continue to decline, with the younger generation showing a preference for debit cards and emerging digital alternatives such as mobile payments.

"This generation seems unlikely to switch to increased credit card usage in later life, as perhaps they would have done in the past, suggesting that debit cards, mobile payments and other innovations will force the credit card into an ever decreasing market. Beware of debit card fraud."

It's a good job we're being more wary about taking out credit, because average incomes have fallen by nearly 3.5% in real terms over the past year.

For some further advice, check out this guide on taking the first steps to getting yourself out of debt.