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Millions of Brits risk financial future by missing bill payments

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15/04/2013
Nine million Brits missed a bill payment in the last 12 months, potentially putting their financial future at risk by damaging their credit profile as a result.

According to a new report, credit cards came out on top as the most missed payment, with three million people across the country having missed a credit card bill in the past year.

Council tax is the second top missed payment (two million), followed by mobile phone bills and electricity bills.

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySupermarket.com, said: “With times being so tough for most UK households and spare cash being tight it is easy to see why people may have difficulty in paying bills on time, or in some cases at all.

“However, while delaying payment on some types of bills won’t impede your credit report, being late on others can have a major impact on your financial future, with credit cards being the most missed payment according to our research.”

According to the report, a late or missed payment on a credit card bill not only shows on a credit profile, but will also lead to the loss of promotional rates on the card, which can be a costly mistake.

For example, missing the first payment on a 12 month 0 per cent credit card deal with a £2,000 balance would cost an additional £309 in interest over the 12 months if moved on to an average credit card rate of 17.69%.

Brits are being warned that missed payments have a knock-on effect on future applications like credit cards and mortgages.

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.

“Although it was credit reporting was traditionally used by the banks and building societies, we are now also seeing a number of utility companies reporting all or some elements of repayment histories.

“Some energy, water and communication companies report repayment histories to the credit reference agencies, while landlords will soon be able to report on rent payments under new plans.

“However, payments for council tax aren’t reported by Local Authorities. It is therefore becoming more and more difficult to miss a bill and not have some impact upon your credit file.

“Although missing one payment may not be specifically alter your overall credit score, when it comes to applying for credit this one mistake could lead to you being rejected as banks look closely at repayment history and how you have managed your finances, and in the current climate, can use this against you.”

Consumers are being advised to prioritise monthly obligations and set up a direct debit for the most vital bills.

People worried about missing payments should speak to their supplier immediately to see if they can come to a temporary arrangement, says the report.

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