Student credit card debts stand at 220

27-08-2008

Student credit card debts stand at 220
Research from Halifax shows just 37 per cent of students have credit cards and the average balance is just £220.

For male students the average credit card balance is £173.20, while for female students it is £255.50.

Across the country, the average credit card debts for students are higher in the East (£363.70) and the south-east (£360.60) and lowest in the south-west (£125.10) and East Midlands (£129.50).

The low use of credit cards compares with 80 per cent of students that take a loan to fund finances, and 64 per cent that have an overdraft.

A Halifax spokesperson explained for most students using credit cards is for its functionality – for example the ability to buy goods online – over raising cash.

"A credit card for students is about staying in control of your finances," he said.

"We always advise people having trouble with their finances not to put their head in the said and to get in touch with their lender."

Research by the National Union of Students (NUS) and HSBC shows average weekly spend for students – taking into account books, rent, bills, and food etc - now stands £204.18.

However, this compares with an expectation of school leavers of £185.62.

The National Union of Students (NUS) advice over credit cards is to treat them is caution.

David Malcolm, NUS head of social policy, explained students should take a traffic light approach to debt.

Debts such as government student loans and interest-free overdrafts should be treated as green – as they are low cost and designed for students.

"Credit cards fall into the amber category," Mr Malcolm said.

"They can be used for buying things online, but when credit cards are used to basic living expenses, people should seek help."

In the red categories – with debts to avoid – the NUS classes store cards and unsecured personal loans.

Mr Malcolm also warned students facing debt problems could increase, as parents caught up in the credit crunch find less cash free for their offspring.

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