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High-cost catalogue debt rises sharply

8 March, 2013

New figures from StepChange Debt Charity show a dramatic rise in the level of catalogue debt among people seeking its help during the last six years. The charity is raising concerns that while the amounts owed on traditional forms of credit such as credit cards and personal loans are continuing to fall, the amounts owed on high-cost forms of credit such as catalogues and payday loans are rapidly increasing

The average catalogue debt for a StepChange Debt Charity client has increased 43 percent since 2006 to £1,808 in 2012.

Women worst affected

The problem is particularly acute among women, both in terms of numbers helped and amounts owed. In 2012 StepChange Debt Charity helped 38,617 women with catalogue debts, compared to just 14,715 men. The average catalogue debt for women stood at £1,869, whereas for men it was £1,698, a difference of £171.

Turning to high-cost credit

StepChange Debt Charity head of external affair Delroy Corinaldi said: “As people are increasingly unable to access traditional forms of credit they appear to be turning to more expensive alternatives such as catalogues and payday loans, which are often more readily available via the internet.

“Many people don’t consider debts built up on catalogues to be as important as other forms of credit such as credit cards and loans. In fact, catalogues are a form of high-cost credit that often carry high default charges and can leave people with substantial amounts to repay.

“Catalogue debts are an increasingly significant component of many our client’s debt mix and we urge anyone struggling these or any other debts to contact StepChange Debt Charity where they will get free and impartial advice”.

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