One in six (17 per cent) adults missed paying a bill in 2011
Research from MoneySupermarket.com, has found that over one in six (17 per cent or 8 million Brits) missed a payment for at least one bill in the last 12 months, potentially putting their credit profiles at risk, with credit cards coming out on top as the most missed payment.
With many consumers expected to apply for a personal loan or credit card this year, the research found that worryingly, three million people had missed a credit card bill in the last year (7 per cent). It seems that council tax is one of the most common costs where people have delayed payments, as 1.9 million people missed a council tax payment (4 per cent) last year, an increase since 2010 (3 per cent). Mobile phones, personal loans, broadband, Sky and gas and electricity bills were also high up on the list as payments most missed (3 per cent each).
Those living in Scotland and Wales were the biggest culprits for missing a bill payment with 22 per cent neglecting their finances, while people in the East Midlands were the least likely to miss a payment, with almost 9 out of 10 (88 per cent) not missing a payment on any major bill within the last 12 months.
Kevin Mountford, Head of Banking at MoneySupermarket.com, said: "Our research shows there's still a worrying amount of Brits potentially damaging their credit rating by failing to pay their bills on time, with credit card bills being the most missed. A late or missed payment on a credit card bill not only impacts your credit profile, but will also lead to the loss of promotional rates on the card, which can be a costly mistake. For example, missing your first payment on a 12 month 0 per cent credit card deal would cost an additional £300 in interest over the 12 months if you moved on to an average credit card rate of 17.29 per cent. Therefore, prioritising your monthly obligations and setting up a direct debit for the most vital bills is a must for those who tend to forget to pay on their deadline.
"Missing a payment could also have a knock-on effect for future applications such as credit cards and mortgages. Those applying for a credit card need to prove they can make regular and stable payments and any black marks against a credit profile would hinder chances of being approved. For those who have missed payments affecting their credit file, MoneySupermarket has a SmartSearch credit profiling tool which matches applicants with the most suitable products based on their individual credit score, but does so without leaving a footprint on the applicant's file."
The MoneySupermarket research also asked what people thought could damage their credit profile, with Brits identifying bankruptcy (81 per cent), missing a payment (73 per cent), and having no credit history (71 per cent) as the top three reasons they believe can affect a credit rating. Surprisingly, 18 per cent thought a being on the Child Support Agency database would affect their credit profile, and 13 per cent said changing jobs would damage their file. A further 8 per cent said they thought parking or driving convictions would affect their credit rating as would details on your medical records (7 per cent).
Kevin Mountford continued: "It is important that people are clear on what could damage their credit profile to make sure they don't get caught out simply by not knowing. Repayments on credit cards and other financial transactions such as mortgages and use of overdraft facilities are all recorded on your credit file. The majority of household bills and government related fines and payments aren't recorded but contract mobile phone payments are, so it can be very easy to get caught out by not paying bills on certain products, especially if you are not aware of the consequences of your actions."
MoneySupermarket offers further top tips on its site for those looking to improve their credit rating score, so they can apply for credit with confidence.
Read more at www.moneysupermarket.com/c/news/five-ways-to-boost-your-credit-score/0013459/