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EDITIONS
 Saturday, 28 December, 2002, 01:23 GMT
Crackdown on credit card debt
Credit cards
Britons are borrowing more than they are saving
Credit card companies are to share information with each other about customers to stop people borrowing a huge amount on different cards.

The move has come in response to government pressure on finance companies to lend more responsibly.

From the New Year, the lenders will share more detailed information on the credit history of applicants.

It will include details on arrears and how quickly they clear their credit card bill each month.

Out of control

Some borrowers juggle their finances by taking out several credit cards and borrowing right up to the limit on each of them.

Then they struggle to make even the minimum monthly repayments.

Now the finance companies aim to do more to root out the riskiest individuals, before their finances spiral out of control.

In November, figures showed that for the first time since the height of the early nineties credit boom, Britons are borrowing more money than they are saving.

Credit-hungry Britons

There was some evidence that in the run up to Christmas consumers were more cautious than usual.

But at the start of the sales this week, consumers were back in the shops in their thousands.

Research by the Independent Financial Adviser Promotion (IFAP) showed that credit-hungry Britons are currently borrowing 1.09 for every 1 saved.

During the third quarter of 2002, 18bn was saved but 19bn was borrowed at the same time.

Back in the first quarter of 1990, the last time new debt outstripped saving - savings totalled 8.5bn and debt 9.9bn.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Hywel Jones
"Finance companies are under pressure from the government to lend more responsibly"
  Brian Capon, British Bankers Association
"The key point is to get people to admit if they've got a problem"
See also:

28 Nov 02 | Business
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