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A snapshot of UK personal debt statistics in 2020

Download the 2020 report

Statistics Yearbook 2020

Our latest report highlights the demographic and debt situations of new clients who first completed a full debt advice session between January and December 2020.

More than half a million people contacted us for advice in 2020, reflecting the financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

However, this harm has not yet crystallised into an increase in people seeking long term help, with many instead requiring emergency support.

Number 1

The impact of Covid-19

Covid emerged as one of the most common reasons for debt in 2020, however StepChange clients continued to be affected by other life events.

In 2020, top 6 reasons for debt were unemployment and redundancy, reduced income or benefits, lack of control over finances, injury or health issue, covid-19 and seperation or devorce.
Number 2

Single adults without children affected

2020 saw a big swing in client profile towards single people without children, who strongly felt the effects of the pandemic.

A growing numbe of clients are single adults with no children.
Number 2

Types of debts held by clients have shifted

In 2020, the debt profiles among our new clients changed. Fewer new clients had overdrafts and credit cards, but an increased proportion had personal loan debts. However, credit cards continued to be the most common debt type, held by two thirds of all new clients in 2020 (67%).

In 2020, over half of new clients (52%) had a personal loan debt.
Number 2


Many renters have seen their finances impacted by the pandemic. Most new debt advice clients in 2020 were renters.

Our #CovidDebtRescue campaign offers more insight into the particular risks faced by private sector renters.

We are campaigning for a financial package of support for renters to help them keep their homes.

In 2020, more than one third of clients were living in private rented housing

Want more information?

Email us to discuss our 2020 personal debt statistics and other debt research across the UK.