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Last Updated:  Friday, 21 February, 2003, 23:56 GMT
Fewer plan to pay off card debts
Credit card machine
People are spending less on their cards
There has been a sharp fall in the number of people planning to pay off their credit card debts, according to new research.

The number of people planning to settle their debts has fallen by nearly 10% during the past six months, card issuer Morgan Stanley found.

Only 56% of people surveyed planned to clear their balances in full during the first three months of the year.

This compares with 61% six months ago.

The survey will fuel fears the UK economy is heading for crash, as more consumers live beyond their means.

'No crisis'

But Morgan Stanley spokesman, Tyrrell Schmidt, insisted there was nothing to worry about.

"Although intentions to repay have fallen, this doesn't herald a consumer credit crisis.

"People are intending to spend less on their credit cards over the next three months.

"In addition, many are taking advantage of a competitive credit card market.

"Increased competition has given consumers the opportunity to take advantage of an enticing range of introductory balance transfer offers and this might mean that people feel less inclined to repay their balances every month," he said.

Spending falls

According to the survey, just 8% of people surveyed plan to pay the bare minimum off their credit card bill.

While 31% of people say they will pay more than the minimum required, but will not clear their debt completely.

But at the same time the amount consumers plan to spend on their plastic has fallen, with people expecting to spend an average of 818 during the first quarter of the year.

This compares with 927 six months ago.

Young people

The survey found men are slightly more likely than women to plan to clear their card in the current quarter.

But men also plan to spend more, expecting to put 1,011 on their plastic, nearly double women's 594.

People in their 20s are least likely to clear their credit card balance, with just 38% planning to pay off their whole bill, down from 49% in the three months to September.

Two-thirds of people aged over 50 expect to settle all their credit card debt this quarter, although this is lower than the 74% who planned to do so in the third quarter.





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The BBC's Hywel Jones
"Consumers will be spending less over the next three months"



SEE ALSO:
How can I manage my debt?
12 Feb 03 |  Business
Mastercard 'taxing' shoppers
11 Feb 03 |  Business
UK consumers borrow at record rate
30 Jan 03 |  Business


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