Repaying Mortgage, Rent With Credit Card

By: Liam G

More than a million UK residents have used their credit card to cover their mortgage repayments or their rent in the past year, according to a recent survey by the polling organisation YouGov.

This equates to approximately 6% of the 17m residents across the UK who pay either a mortgage or rent, with 7.5% of 18 to 24-year-olds admitting to using their credit cards this way.

The figures suggest that first-time buyers and young homeowners are the most likely to reach for the plastic in a "desperate attempt" to maintain their place on the property ladder.

According to Adam Sampson, chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, which commissioned the poll, the number of UK residents being forced to use "short-term, high cost borrowing" methods to keep up with repayments is "rapidly rising".

Shelter links this problem to the recent global credit crunch, which has pushed up interest rates for many borrowers.

The survey found that men were more likely to use their credit card in this way compared to women, with 7% of males admitting to it compared to 6% of women.

It also found that residents in the Midlands and Wales were more likely to take such measures to keep a roof over their heads, with 9% doing so, compared to just 3% of Scottish residents.

The reason that such practices can be so risky is that credit card interest rates are often much higher than those attached to mortgages.

On average, most credit card companies charge between 15% and 18% annual interest, almost double that the cost of even the most expensive mortgages, with some bad credit applicants paying as much as 40%!

Even more alarming, the study found that most people were withdrawing the rent or mortgage payments from their credit card accounts, as apposed to paying housing associations directly.

Shelter adds that this is a "huge problem" which is likely to continue as long as housing prices keep on rising.

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