Pick a card – 2.7 million own five or more credit cards

One in five GB adults carries three or four cards, says MoneyExpert.com

Credit card fever is continuing unabated, with one in every seventeen British adults carrying five or more in their wallets, new research from MoneyExpert.com shows.

Its figures* show that as many as 2.7 million Brits have either racked up such large debts or have chopped and changed credit cards so often that they now own at least five each. Some 77 per cent of the British adult population claim to own at least one credit card, with over half of us (52 per cent) owning just one or two.

However the independent financial comparison website fears that the rising number of multi-card users is further evidence of the British debt crisis as people take out more and more cards to juggle debts.

The MoneyExpert.com research shows that as many as 11.575 million people ñ around a third of all credit card holders ñ own three or more credit cards. Men are the most likely to have a wallet stuffed with plastic as twice as many men than women have five or more cards to choose from (8 per cent of men vs 4 per cent of women).

Sean Gardner, Chief Executive of MoneyExpert.com, said: ìThe British love affair with credit cards continues. It is healthy if people are switching cards and clearing debts but people are kidding themselves if they rely on moving from one card to another just to avoid repaying their debt.

ìLong zero per cent credit card deals are attractive for a variety of reasons and consumers shouldnít be afraid to take advantage of them. But the number one rule is only borrow what you can afford to pay back. The problem is at Christmas time thatís a very difficult rule to follow.

ìCredit cards are becoming our biggest Achilles heel ñ borrowing has become so cheap and minimum payments are so low that we feel absolutely no obligation to pay the money back as soon as possible. An interest-free attitude can be very dangerous in every sense of the word.”

The research shows that Londoners are marginally more reliant on credit cards than others, with 28 per cent of adults living in the capital carrying three or more cards. Southerners are next with 27 per cent, and Northerners are least likely to carry multiple cards, with only 23 per cent claiming to have more than three.

Region % adults 3 cards % adults 4 cards % adults 5 cards Total
London 15 6 7 28%
Midlands/Wales 14 5 6 25%
Scotland 10 10 5 25%
North 13 4 6 25
Great Britain 14 5 6 25

Experts** estimate around £11.4 billion is set to be put on plastic this festive season.

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*YouGov interviewed 2,745 GB adults (18+) between 9th and 14th November 2006 ** APACS

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