The State Of Credit Card Use and Financial Literacy In The UK

usage of credit card in the UK

If you shop online, pay bills, or gamble at your favourite casino or sportsbook, it might be surprising to learn that about half of adults in the UK need more financial literacy with day-to-day decisions and the best payment methods.

With energy bills and the cost of living increasing, millions of people can fall into the red because they need to effectively understand financial products like credit cards are still a type of debt.

Below we will explore a survey on Brits and credit card use. We will also cover how financial literacy in school about financial agreements and other financial products can help.

A Financial Literacy Poll on Brits and Credit Card Debt

After polling 4,000 UK residents, 68% stated that they lack money management skills like how to set a budget.

In understanding financial literacy, a concern is that people hear sales ads like “buy now, pay later” and do not understand the ramifications of taking on debt. It became evident during the pandemic when consumers took out pay-day loans, dipped into savings, and used credit cards to cover income lost during Covid.

Paying for Merchandise on Credit

Around one in 10 people paid for Christmas presents with credit cards and used services like Affirm, Clearpay, and Klarna to spread payments in instalments, accounting for 1 in 5 people aged 18-34.

The UK has about 24 million consumers who need more confidence in managing money, and while the government wants to improve this, financial education continues to fall by the wayside.

While financial literacy should be a top priority, factors that have blocked progress include the provision, class time, and teaching standards, as the last policy intervention suggestion was in 2014.

Adding financial literacy to curriculums is crucial, especially in primary and secondary schools. Yet, it would not address older consumers affected by online fraud or workers nearing retirement still paying off credit cards and student loans.

 Taking Out Loans They Do Not Understand

When asked if they took out a financial product like a credit card or “buy now, pay later” product without understanding how it worked, 70.90% of Brits aged 35-44 said yes. Those over age 55 accounted for 54.36%.

Incidentally, the total number that said yes with salaries under 125,000 GBP accounted for 70% of those polled, with 64.45% of those surveyed saying yes, they did not understand the financial product.

 Travel and Shopping Deals: Regretting to Buy Now Pay Later Financial Agreements

Around 62.55% of UK residents polled regretted taking out a credit card or other finance agreement they needed to understand fully.

Examples include credit cards and “buy now, pay later” offers. These are available for travel, shopping, and even purchasing groceries. These debt vehicles can affect their ability to take out credit in the future as they are still a form of debt. 

What is concerning is people who take out credit cards may need more education. In the same poll, those that responded yes included ages 18-24 (61.45%), 25-34 (63.34), 35-44 (67%), 45-64 (64.01), and 55+ (50.74%).

The 16-17-year-olds saw 60.87% say no because they did not have debt. They also needed to learn about the negative ramifications of taking on credit agreements. Hence, older consumers had regrets based on experience.

 Taking Financial Advice From Other Sources

About 23.10% of UK residents took financial advice from friends and family, followed by 22.35% who referred to finance blogs and websites.

In one of the most alarming surveys, only 1.4% of those polled received personal finance information from the school. It is a reminder that financial literacy is lacking through education, which might explain why 63.90% of people surveyed said how to budget was a topic they wish they knew about in school.

Casino Credit Card Offers

A young person who enjoys online casinos and betting on their favourite sports might search for how to find credit card casinos.

Attracted to lucrative cash match offers worth up to $14,000 from casinos like Las Atlantis, they might apply for credit card loans or open a new credit card. They may hope to win a large jackpot to pay off their balance before it becomes due, which does not always work.

While a legitimate offer, gamblers should understand that while they might double their money and add to their winnings, what if they are on a losing streak? Hence, more financial literacy can help them not bet over their heads but still enjoy generous signup offers that give them more cash to gamble with.

 Balance Transfer Credit Cards, Savings Bonds, and ISAs

Brits should research ways to increase their savings and pay down their debts. Look for websites on money management that can break down credit card offers and terms. Hence, combining credit cards and having lower interest rates can help pay down debt.

In exploring savings bonds and ISAs, refer to the National Savings & Investments website, which offers several saving and investment tools. That will help Brits learn about credit cards, savings, and how to protect their financial future – at any age!


 Why is credit card debt a problem for many Brits?

They receive offers early in their schooling but, without financial literacy or high-paying jobs, can quickly fall behind on payments.

 Can a budget help Brits manage credit cards?

Yes, schools should have topics like budgeting, but older generations need help with their finances as they plan for retirement.

Final Thoughts

The relationship between a Brit’s financial literacy and credit card usage habits should include debt awareness, responsible credit management, debt awareness, and financial decision-making.

Teaching Brits how to budget money can help ensure they enjoy the money they earn and do not tie down future income in debts like “buy now, pay later” offers which will eventually come due.