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CAS issues debt advice as credit card spending increases

7 Mar 2014

Citizens Advice Scotland has warned consumers to beware the dangers of debt, as new figures show that spending on credit cards is on the rise. 

Figures released by the UK Cards Association show that spending on cards has increased by nearly 7 per cent across the UK over the year. (see appendix below)

Citizens Advice Scotland’s Consumer spokesman Fraser Sutherland says: 

“While these figures can be seen as a sign of growing consumer confidence, we would urge people to make sure they are not borrowing more than they can afford to re-pay. Debt cases represent a third of all the work of the Scottish CAB service and, last year we helped Scots with over 36,000 issues on credit card debts alone. 

“So our advisers see every day examples of how easy it is for debts to get out of control, and how such debt can really destroy peoples’ lives. Not just their finances but their health, careers and relationships as well. 

“For a time, it seemed that payday loans had become some consumers only choice of credit, but these figures show that people are still getting and using credit cards as well. Both are potentially dangerous though, and our general advice to people on any form of debt is to always read the small print, only borrow what you know you can repay, and shop around for the cheapest lender. For example a local credit union will usually offer you a much better deal than either a credit card or payday loan. 

“Debt is a fact of life for many households. If you are on a low income you sometimes need to borrow a bit more, just to get by. But the way you borrow, and which lender you choose, is hugely important. You need to be savvy about borrowing. Every time you make a new debt decision, consider whether its really a good idea just to put it on your credit card or take another payday loan, or whether there are other options open to you. 

“If you find you are having to borrow every week or every month, then you’ve really lost control of your finances and you need to face up to that and start getting things back on track. The good news is that help is available. The CAB offers free, confidential advice to help you sort out your debts. Take control now: come to your local CAB or call our advice helpline on 0808 800 9060.” 

This CAS press release is issued in response to a press release from the UK Cards Association. This has been appended in full below. 

ENDS 

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