Over a million missed bills due in January

  • 332,000 credit card bills to go unpaid
  • Over £47m in fees wracked up on credit cards last year

Over a million bills went unpaid this month as extravagant Christmas spending and early December salary payments hit home, according to new MoneyExpert.com research*.

The independent financial comparison website says that some 1.145 million bills ranging from credit cards and mobile phones to utilities and council tax are likely to remain unpaid into February.

MoneyExpert.com says that people are most likely to struggle on their credit card bills, estimating that around 332,500 people will miss a repayment. Council tax bills are also under threat with around 147,800 people due to overlook their monthly bill in January.

And with some service providers imposing immediate fines for missing a payment, MoneyExpert.com is warning consumers to make arrangements to ensure they donít incur unnecessary costs.

The average charge for a missed credit card bill is £12 and if you donít pay your council tax you could be summoned to court.

Sean Gardner, Chief Executive of MoneyExpert.com, said: ìMoney is always tight in January. Most of us struggle to come to terms with getting paid early in December plus heavy spending over Christmas. Itís a difficult time and this can naturally lead to some people missing a bill payment.”

Type of bill Predicted missed bills in January – approx
Credit card 332,550
Gas and/or Electricity 147,800
Council tax 147,800
Water 110,850
Personal loan repayment 73,900
Rent ñ private or council 73,900
Telephone ñ land line 73,900
Mobile telephone 73,900
Broadband internet connection 36,950
Mortgage 36,950
Car insurance 36,950
Total 1,145,451

The MoneyExpert.com research also shows that almost one in ten adults admits to having missed a credit card payment during the last twelve months. With the average charge for a missed repayment currently at £12, this means the nation wracked up at least £47.8 million in fees on credit cards alone in 2006.

Sean Gardner added: ìMissing a bill might not seem a big deal but it wonít go away and often youíll be charged with a fee or extra interest if you donít pay up.

ìItís also possible that the service provider will withdraw their product from use, typically with telephone and the internet. So if you know youíve overlooked a payment, donít hang around or youíll pay for it in inconvenience, cost and pure frustration.

ìJanuary is the most popular time of year for people to review their finances. If you canít afford to pay all your bills, you might need to consolidate your debts or consider a more affordable repayment plan. Our advice is to tell your bank or service provider if you are struggling. The more honest you are, the more theyíll want to help.”

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* YouGov interviewed 2,740 GB adults (18+) between 18th ñ 22nd January 2007

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