Households in financial difficulties have been found to be three times more likely to be only paying the minimum (which can be as low as 1pc with MBNA) on their card each month, according to the Law Reform Commission.
It will take 20 years to clear a €8,000 debt if you pay just 2.5pc of the outstanding balance every month.
In that time, you will have paid €6,000 in interest alone.
GET A DISPOSABLE CARD
If you need to make online purchases then get a prepaid or disposable credit card. You do not need to have your credit history checked to get one of these.
Get a 3v disposable card. You register online then take the card to a retailer, hand over the cash and the card is loaded up. You get a 16-digit visa number.
It is free to load up to €20 on the card, then €2.5 for between €30 and €100, and €5 for between €110 and €350. Some 300,000 people have registered for 3v cards.
Or, get a prepaid Mastercard from www.neteller.com. The physical version of this card can be used to book Ryanair flights without incurring the €5 "administration charge" per flight.
You need to register online, then send off a colour photocopy of your passport and a utility bill.
Once registered and "authenticated" you can then load the card online from your bank account.
There is no charge for this. If you load the card from a credit or debit card, there is a 1.75pc charge per transaction.