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Over 128,000 Scottish households use credit cards to pay mortgage or rent

Over 128,000 Scottish households use credit cards to pay mortgage or rent

An exclusive You Gov poll for the charity’s ROOF magazine reveals a disturbing picture of tens of thousands of people in Scotland taking desperate measures with credit cards to keep a roof over their heads.

The survey asked if respondents had paid their rent or mortgage by credit card in the past 12 months. In Scotland, 8 per cent of respondents who were liable for the rent or mortgage said yes – suggesting a Scottish figure of around 128,500.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, housing and homelessness charity, said paying with credit cards was a dangerous game and urged people to seek advice instead.

He said: “It is a shocking discovery that over 128,000 households in Scotland are in such desperate circumstances that they need to borrow money on credit cards to pay for basic housing costs. If people are already struggling to the extent that they fear losing their home, increasing credit card debt cannot be the answer.”

Mr Brown continued: “It is absolutely vital that people using credit cards in this way seek advice urgently. Shelter Scotland’s national helpline and network of advice services across the country are ready to give free advice on a range of subjects, including housing debt, so we would urge anyone struggling to get in touch today. The sooner they seek help, the more options are available.”

Susan McPhee, Head of Social Policy and Public Affairs, Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “It is worrying that such a considerable number of people have paid off their mortgages and rent using credit, in many cases putting themselves further into debt. These past months numerous people have lost their jobs and many have seen a cut in their pay, finding themselves in financial and emotional distress.

“Using a credit card for mortgage and rent payments is a short term solution with long term implications. Scots who find themselves in a position where they are struggling to make essential payments should seek advice as soon as possible.”

Across Britain, the highest proportion of those who pay their rent or mortgage through credit card were working class (8% of those in the C2DE social grouping), but the poll also showed that middle/upper class (ABC1 category) are also falling victim, with 4 percent of respondents saying they use credit cards in this way. (2)

Specialist debt and housing advice is available via Shelter Scotland’s website. Visit or call the free helpline on 0808 800 4444 and get help now.