As Brexit bites, 1-in-5 forced to borrow to finance Christmas

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(London, UK) December 04, 2018 – One-in-five people (22 per cent) say they have previously borrowed money from friends and family to help pay for Christmas even though the majority are embarrassed about asking, a new survey reveals.

The research, commissioned by Curve, the fintech startup that lets you combine your various debit and credit cards into a card and a smart app, examines how people in the UK plan to finance their spending this holiday season. The results expect the average family’s Christmas expenses to exceed £500 this year. Spending this amount means it tops the list as the most stressful aspect of the festive period, according to 1-in-4 of those surveyed.

On average, loved ones are asked for £517 from each family or friend forced to borrow. Financial pressures mean a similar proportion of people (21 per cent) resort to bank loans. Proportionately, across the UK this equates to more than 26 million people accessing debt to finance their Christmas.

This comes at a time when British households are more than £900 worse off after the vote to leave the EU, according to the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney.

With pressure mounting to loosen the purse strings over the festive period, almost one-third of those surveyed said that they would be choosing not to buy gifts for certain people this year, despite wanting to do otherwise. And, in a sign of the times, 2-in-5 (40 per cent) said they would be buying fewer presents this year compared to last year.

When the Christmas debt repayments are due, more than one third (37 per cent) say that it takes them over a month to repay the money. As many as 1-in-5 will count the cost well into the New Year as fiscal constraints mean paying off Christmas up until March. Many respondents said that this pressure would affect their sleep and work.

The survey also reveals that gender plays a role in the way we approach Christmas finances. Women are far more likely to plan in advance and prepare, with more than half saving money in advance. In contrast, only 37 per cent of men do the same. Women are also faster when it comes to paying the money back. On the other hand, men are more likely to cut done on the number of gifts they buy.

Shachar Bialick, Curve founder and CEO, commented: “Far from being a time of happiness and joy, this research shows that, for many in the UK, Christmas is a time of anxiety about household finances. With households earning £20 a week less than pre-financial crisis 10 years ago and the Brexit referendum result costing each £900, more homes will be expecting a visit from the Grinch than Father Christmas this year.

“Households desperately need a better way to see, spend and save their money. Curve is building a service that helps you take control of your spending by uniting all your bank and credit cards into one single Curve card, managed through the Curve app.”