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Last minute Christmas credit card bill hits £2bn

Last minute Christmas credit card bill hits £2bn

Category: Credit cards

Updated: 17/12/2010
First Published: 17/12/2010

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

As the countdown to Christmas enters its final week, it has been predicted that the nation will spend some £6.7 billion over the next seven days.

Consumers in the UK will fork out an average of £170.25 in that time, according to a survey by Sainsbury's Credit Cards, with some 1.9 million shoppers intending to spend over £500.

Around 135,000 seemingly deep pocketed adults reckon they will splash out over £2,000.

Unsurprisingly, presents top the list of what the money will be spent on, and will account for £2.4 billion of the total outlay, while food and drink comes a close second at £2.1 billion.

However, Sainsbury's research also indicates that around 29% of this last-minute spending - some £1.9 billion - will be placed on credit cards.

Around 11 million people intend to put half or more of their last-minute Christmas shopping on their credit cards, with 8.4 million shoppers planning to place more than 80% on their flexible friends.

The season of goodwill is often an expensive one, and when used responsibly, credit cards can help ease the financial burden of Christmas, allowing us to spread the cost over the coming months.

With a little bit of time and effort, you could ensure that you pay no interest on your balance or even earn while you spend.

An ever popular option for the Christmas season is a 0% purchase card which, as the name suggests, charges no interest on purchases for a set amount of time.

They allow the holder to spread the cost of their purchases and, as long as the balance is paid within the offer period, they almost act as an interest free loan.

Tesco Clubcard Credit Card is the standout option as it offers holders 0% on purchases for 13 months.

AA Visa might also be worth a look with its interest free period of 10 months, while Halifax All in One Mastercard offers a similar timeframe.

"Once again there looks set to be a stampede of shoppers this week as people leave their shopping to the last week before Christmas," said Stuart McKeggie, head of Sainsbury's Credit Cards.

"Many shoppers intend to use credit cards for their Christmas shopping, which can be a safe and convenient way to shop and can provide great rewards for using them if you choose the right one."

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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.