Webhelp recently carried out research on attitude of British people to credit in 2017. This was a detailed study and we found some really interesting insight in the responses. In this article, I’m going to highlight some of the key findings.
First though, who uses credit in the UK? We found that 80% of our respondents had a credit card, loan, or both. The least likely to be using any credit are those earning less than £10k p.a. (39%) and those aged 18-24 (37%). 83% of those earning over £40k say that they have a credit card or loan. Clearly an increase in income creates the opportunity to access credit.
Once people have access to credit they tend to use it. We found that 82% of our respondents have some form of balance on a credit card or outstanding loan and only 17% of those have managed to decrease the amount owed in the past year. 30% of people say that they owe more at present than they did a year ago. This feeds into the attitude towards taking on increased credit where just 26% said that they would actively be planning to take out a new loan or credit card in the next six months.
It’s concerning to see how many people are using credit for basic living expenses, such as food. Our research found that 35% of people needed credit for these basic necessities and a quite staggering 65% of 18-24s use credit for these basic needs.
Attitudes to Brexit were also interesting. Although the British government and many in industry are fixated on the effect that Brexit will have on the British economy, it doesn’t seem to have changed attitudes to credit. 73% of people said that Brexit had no impact at all on their credit decisions. With regards to the future, perhaps even a post-Brexit future, a third (33%) said that they were concerned about the rising cost of living although 44% of the over 65s said that they were fine and saw no reason why anything would change for them in future.
It was clear that brand remains important. When applying for credit, trust in the brand of the lender was the single biggest influencer in the choice of who to use for credit. 64% of people expressed a preference in applying online rather than in person and amongst those earning over £40k this rises to 82%. Clearly a trusted brand and a simple online application process are important.
In addition to brand, the customer experience received is also very influential. 87% said that they expect excellent customer service either as an important or extremely important part of the brand interaction. That figure rises to 94% of women, 95% of 25-34s and 92% of those earning between £20-40k p.a.
What is your attitude to credit in 2017? Is it important for you to receive an excellent customer experience from your lender? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment here, or get in touch on LinkedIn.