Thursday 23 November 2017

100,000 are three months or more in arrears on personal debt

Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

ALMOST 100,000 people are three months or more in arrears on their payments on unsecured debts such as credit cards, overdrafts and credit union loans, a new survey shows.

And of those who have missed payments, some 32,000 people owe more than €90,000 on their personal loans, credit cards and catalogues debts.

The survey, a copy of which has been seen by the Irish Independent, gives the first true glimpse into the extent of non-mortgage debt.

Credit-cards bills are the most prominent of the unsecured debts, with eight-out-of-10 people owing money on the plastic fiends, according to the research commissioned by new debt advise company the Debt Advisory Centre.

The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted by independent market research company iReach.

It found that some 2.8 million people have some form of unsecured debts, with 240,000 people having missed at least one payment.

Commenting on the results, Elaine Whelan of the Debt Advisory Centre said: "It's encouraging to see that most people are still managing to meet their monthly debt repayments.

"However, it's concerning that almost a quarter of a million people owe more than €25,000, even if they are currently up to date with repayments."

The vast majority of people (81pc) are up to date with their debt repayments.

However, 15pc of borrowers, or 239,000 people, are in arrears on their unsecured debt repayments.

A worrying 6pc -- 96,000 people -- are three or more months behind. Earlier research published by the Debt Advisory Centre found that awareness of the options available for people with debt problems was low, with four in 10 people (37pc) saying that they hadn't heard of bankruptcy, debt-management plans or the formal scheme of arrangement.

The debt advisory company takes over the payment of debts by getting those who are in arrears to redirect all their payments to their creditors through it. It charges an initial set-up fee of one monthly payment, set at a maximum of €475.

Irish Independent

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