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What are the demographics of UK credit card owners?

A credit card is a useful payment method — it allows us to cover essential costs when we wouldn’t otherwise be able to. So long as we can pay back the bills we’ve incurred at the end of each month, we stand to boost our credit score, too.

As always, sensible budgeting is the key to better finances.

Who in the UK is most likely to own one, though? Let’s explore the main demographics of British borrowers to find out.

Age

How old is the average UK credit card user? Well, leading research indicates that young British adults, i.e. millennials (those born between 1985 and 2000), are less likely to own one.

Experts suggest that this is because people in this age group are more wary of taking financial risks than previous generations were at their age. Many cite the 2008 global recession as a key cause for this concern, which left a number of Britons in high levels of debt.

It’s also widely believed that our upcoming departure from the EU — and the general uncertainty over its potential economic effect — is deterring many people aged between 18 and 24 from applying for a credit card.

Britons above 34, however, were able to enjoy using a credit card as young adults in a more easily determined economy.

Region

So, just where is credit card usage at its highest in the UK? A study conducted by credit checking service Noddle in 2016 revealed that affluent areas contained the largest volume of credit card owners in the country.

This included wealthy London districts like Kingston Upon Thames, as well St Albans and other neighbouring cities and towns. Northern cities like Sunderland and Newcastle upon Tyne, on the other hand, boasted the lowest number of credit card users.

Given that recent research shows that across the country, people are trying to cut their regular spending, this north/south divide is unlikely to have changed dramatically.

Gender

Are men or women more likely to own a credit card in the UK? According to financial advice service, Money Guru, the two genders are equal when it comes to borrowing, even though double the amount of men are earning over £2,000 per month, compared to women.

So, why is this? It’s likely down to the fact that more women are living independently, and fewer people are marrying than they did when credit cards were introduced to the UK in the late 1960s.

Fifty years ago, men typically organised household finances, taking on responsibilities like credit card applications and account ownership. But with more equality thanks to changes in general gender perceptions, this is far less common today.

While credit cards allow us to spread our money further, they are designed to be used sensibly. Whatever your age or, wherever you live in the UK, it’s crucial to spend yours sparingly, and only when you need to.




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