Britons focus on repaying card debt

Britons are using their credit cards more sensibly as they focus on repaying their plastic debt, figures have shown.

The British Bankers' Association (BBA) found that the number of people taking out credit card cash advances, which result in high interest rates and charges, dropped by 18% in the year to the end of October.

The amount of money people withdraw also fell by 21% to £136, it found.

The banking and financial services trade association found that credit card repayments surpassed monthly spending, with consumers collectively reducing their plastic debt by £281 million in October.

This cut the amount Britons collectively owe on their plastic to £60.4 billion - the lowest level since August 2004 - with around 30% belonging to the debt category which charges no interest.

According to the BBA, the average amount switched between cards through a balance transfer, usually to benefit from a 0% interest or low interest rate scheme, rose by 7% in the past year to £2,200.

In October, credit cards were used to make nearly 162 million purchases - slightly higher annually in seasonally adjusted terms - but the average value of a purchase fell slightly to £64.

David Dooks, statistics director, BBA, said: "The use of cards for purchases is seeing a slow trend increase over time.

"But consumers regularly repay more than they spend, and cards are used much less to withdraw cash than they were a year ago."

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