One in six in Wales at risk of unmanageable debt

People in Wales are more susceptible to over-indebtedness than any other country in the UK, with 440,000 at risk of being unable to keep up with credit repayments.

More than one in six people in Wales are at risk of being unable to keep up with credit repayments, according to figures from the Money Advice Service.

In the lead to the most expensive time of year, Christmas, and to mark International Credit Union Day on October 18, Credit Unions of Wales is spearheading a campaign for Welsh people to take a stand against high cost credit providers.

Patron of Credit Union of Wales Jane Hutt AM said: “Unmanageable debt isn’t just a finance issue. It impacts all elements of our lives, including relationships, work, health, mental health and, of course, the ability to look after our families.

“Credit isn’t bad, we all need help sometimes, especially at Christmas, but it should be fair and manageable. We must refuse to allow ourselves, our families and our communities fall prey to high cost lenders, and stamp them out by turning to credit unions instead.”

As not-for-profit organisations, credit unions put resources into providing services for their members and don’t have the multi-million marketing budgets of payday and other high cost providers.

Often these providers highlight the cost per week, but extended repayment periods and high interest rates can make costs spiral.

Credit Unions of Wales compared the cost of an iPad with a well-known rent-to-own company against buying it on the High Street using a credit union loan.

The rent-to-own retailer would charge a 99.9% APR interest rate, meaning the total repaid over two years would be £676. This was at least £254 more than borrowing from a credit union, almost enough to buy another iPad.*

Andrew Johnson, Advice Manager at the Money Advice Service said: “The 18th. October 2018 is International Credit Union Day which aims to build upon the work and recognise the achievements that Credit Unions have made in providing a range of financial services to its members.

“Credit unions are financial co-operatives, owned by the people who use their services, and not by external shareholders or investors. Where profits are passed on to their members in the form of better rates and lower fees when compared to high cost credit alternatives.

“At a time when people are more likely to seek high-cost short-term credit, access to affordable credit and understanding your options is vital.”

Credit Unions of Wales recommend that people look at the interest rate, term of the loan (how many weeks, months or years) and total amount repaid to be sure they are getting the best deal.

Credit Unions of Wales is running budgeting tips and comparisons with high cost providers from October through to December on their website, Facebook page and Twitter using the hashtags #credit2wales #credydigymru.

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