How much credit card debt is normal?
Millions of people in the UK rely on credit cards, whether for day-to-day shopping or funding occasional emergencies. While some people manage to stay on top of their spending, others find themselves sinking deeper into debt, unable to afford their monthly repayments.
If you’re struggling with credit card debt, you’re not alone. But just how much credit card debt is considered ‘normal’ – and how do you know if you’re in too deep? Below, we’ll answer these questions and explore how a Debt Management Plan (DMP) could help you regain control of your finances.
Defining credit card debt
Every time you use your credit card, you’re borrowing money. This act, in itself, creates credit card debt. However, this debt isn’t always problematic. Paying off the entire balance each month means you won’t carry this debt over, preventing interest from accruing. Using credit cards responsibly can even help to boost your credit score.
The real issue emerges when credit card balances aren’t cleared monthly. As outstanding amounts to credit card companies linger, interest builds up, and what was once a convenient payment method can spiral into a financial burden.
How many people in the UK have credit card debt?
In the UK, outstanding credit card debt is extremely common. According to the most recent statistics from Money.co.uk, over two-thirds of adults possess at least one credit card. Of these credit cards, around two-thirds are active, meaning they carry an outstanding balance at the end of the month. This number is on the rise, with projections indicating that by 2025, 71% of the population could have a credit card.
The statistics also show that while a significant portion of users diligently clear their balances monthly, around half of credit card users are ‘revolvers’. This means that they sometimes carry their credit card balances forward, accruing interest and often leading to more debt over time.
What is a normal amount of credit card debt?
When it comes to the normal amount of credit card debt, The Money Charity reports that as of June 2023, UK households have an average credit card debt of £2,363. This breaks down to approximately £1,248 per adult.
However, the spectrum of credit card debt is vast, with amounts varying dramatically based on individual circumstances. Rather than comparing yourself to what’s ‘average’ or ‘normal’, it’s more pragmatic to consider what’s an acceptable or affordable level of debt for you. This might depend on key factors such as your income, spending habits and other financial obligations.
How much credit card debt is ‘too much’?
While credit cards offer flexibility, there are guidelines to ensure they don’t become a financial burden. A common recommendation is to maintain your credit card utilisation below 30%. This means if you have a credit limit of £1,000, you should aim to keep your balance under £300 at any one time.
You should also consider your overall debt-to-income ratio (DTI), which encompasses all your debts and financial commitments (including credit cards, mortgages and loans). If your DTI is too high, you might be considered to have ‘too much’ debt compared to your income and may struggle to be approved for credit. For example, according to Online Money Advisor, securing a mortgage may be harder if your DTI is above 40%.
But these figures are just benchmarks for determining how much debt is too much debt – the real question is whether your credit card debt is affecting your life.
Signs you may have too much credit card debt
Recognising the signs of excessive credit card debt is crucial for financial well-being. Some indicators that your debt might be spiralling out of control include:
You find yourself only able to make the minimum payment each month.
Your credit card balance is increasing, rather than decreasing – suggesting that interest is accumulating faster than you can pay it off.
You can’t afford certain essential expenses (such as rent, bills, or saving money for emergencies) due to your monthly credit card payments.
You’re struggling to juggle multiple repayments due to having debt on more than one credit card.
Your credit score is declining due to high credit utilisation or missed payments. This can make it harder to be approved for credit in future.
Being aware of these signs can help you take proactive steps to address your credit card debt before it becomes a larger issue.
How can a debt management plan help?
If you’re finding it difficult to manage multiple non-priority debts, such as credit cards, a debt management plan (DMP) could provide a solution. A DMP is a type of informal agreement, made between you, your creditors and a DMP provider, allowing you to consolidate your various debts into one manageable monthly payment.
Your DMP provider will negotiate with your creditors on your behalf, potentially resulting in lower interest rates and waived fees. They’ll work with you and your creditors to create an affordable payment plan, helping to alleviate the emotional strain of debt and provide peace of mind and a clearer financial horizon. Like all debt solutions, DMPs are not for everyone, so it’s crucial to seek professional advice.
Contact DFH Financial Solutions today
Understanding and managing credit card debt is essential for financial stability. If you find yourself questioning whether your debt is ‘normal’ or feeling overwhelmed by multiple repayments, DFH Financial Solutions is here to help.
We specialise in guiding individuals towards personalised debt management plans, offering a structured path to becoming repaying unsecured debts. Reach out today to see if a DMP is the right solution for you.Get Debt Help