Credit cards Updated:
More than 11.5 million people turned to their credit cards to see them through the long January month.
One in ten people that used their credit card this month said they did so to see them through the month – many workers are paid early in December so have to stretch their salaries over a six week period.
In addition, 11% of people said they had been forced to turn to their credit card to fund their day-to-day life because they overspent at Christmas, research by the Post Office found.
A third of people who used their card in January 2011 said that they looked to credit to see them through every month.
More encouragingly, more than half of people using their cards (56%) said they planned to pay off their full balance at the end of the month, escaping high charges in the process.
"If the debt is managed sensibly and paid off quickly, this can be very effective,"Post Office head of credit cards, Az Alibhai, said.
"However, if you don't pay off the bill in full, it can be a pricey way to fund daily purchases."
While half of credit card holders (52%) expect to spend the same as they did during 2010, over 2.4 million (7%) said they expect to spend more on their card during 2011.
A third of card holders that think they will up their credit spending expect to increase spend by up to £100 extra per month, while nearly one in five said they would potentially add up to £200 monthly.
"With many people expecting to increase their credit card spend this year and to help customers manage their finances during the ongoing post-Christmas pinch, we urge cardholders to check out their interest charges and consider switching to a deal with a 0% offer on purchases and balance transfers," Mr Alibhai added.
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