Back to News

One in Four People Plan to Borrow Money for Christmas

Almost 14 million people plan to borrow money over the next three months, new research suggests.

#ABCUL #Credit Unions #Updates

Monday 29 January 2024

Almost 14 million people plan to borrow money over the next three months, new research suggests.

The survey of 3,016 UK adults, commissioned by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), shows that one in four (26%) are likely to borrow or use credit for upcoming holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah.

Among those, half (52%) said they’re likely to use credit cards, while a third (35%) would use buy now pay later and one in four (24%) would opt for an overdraft. A sixth (17%) said they’d turn to friends or family and 9% would go to a credit union.

Some are considering using high-cost credit, with one in ten (12%) saying they’d use payday loans and one in 20 (6%) going for pawnbroker loans.

Bank of England data shows that for the third consecutive quarter, credit union membership in Britain has increased and reached a record level of almost 1.5 million. ABCUL CEO, Robert Kelly is encouraging people who are experiencing difficulties with this expensive time of year, to contact their local credit union instead of a high-cost lender. “Credit unions are not for profit and member-owned so they will work with you to consider whether you can afford to repay what you borrow, and help you get into a savings habit”, says Robert. “As credit union membership grows to record heights, the sector will be supporting more households this festive season than ever before.”

This year, MaPS is asking those who plan on using credit to pay for Christmas or other religious and cultural holidays to “take a breath before you borrow.” This gives them time to assess their options and ensure they have a clear plan to repay the credit they take on.

Caroline Siarkiewicz, Chief Executive of the Money and Pensions Service, said:  “The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but they can also make people feel pressured into spending much more than they can afford. With many households already feeling the strain, it’s unsurprising that millions are looking to credit to fund the celebrations.

“What’s particularly worrying is that some will still be repaying when next year comes around. On top of the stress it can cause, this often involves using short term products for the sort of expensive, long-term borrowing they weren’t designed for.

If things are getting out of hand, or you start needing credit for essential costs, it might be time to seek help”.

Recent News

Read the latest news within the credit union sector, featuring stories from local credit unions, comments from the Association and the important talking points facing the sector across the globe.

Please contact for enquiries to our Communications team.