Store cards and catalogue shopping might sound like outdated concepts to some people, but to others they continue to create a daily debt headache that urgently needs attention.
According to figures from the Debt Advisory Centre, a fifth of people who use either method of shopping are in arrears on their accounts.
Men are more likely than women to fall behind on their payments, with a quarter of men and only an eighth of women currently in arrears.
And among younger people, aged 25-34, one in three store card users or catalogue shoppers are over a month behind on paying what they owe.
Ian Williams, spokesperson for the Debt Advisory Centre, said: “Shopping using a store card can seem like a convenient way to pay, and they often give customers an immediate discount in store.
“Similarly, catalogues allow people to buy clothes and other items with an extended repayment period. Both of these forms of credit appeal to young people and especially young women.”
But he added that young people in particular are in “shockingly high” payment arrears, citing the figure that around a third are over a month behind.
“Not only may this lead to them being hit with additional charges and borrowing costs, but their credit rating may also suffer. This could impact on their ability to get a mortgage, loan or other form of credit in the future,” he pointed out.
His comments on gender might seem odd given the greater likelihood for men to miss their repayments, but it’s worth remembering that the figures quoted above are proportions, rather than total numbers of debtors.
In practice, while proportionally fewer women fall behind on their payments, a greater number overall use catalogues and store cards – making this a larger debt problem for women overall.