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Over a million Brits have secret loans

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30/01/2008

Research from Abbey Loans reveals that as many as 1.35 million of the unsecured personal loans taken by the British public were made in secret, without family and partners knowledge.

The combined value of the secret loans is estimated at £7.7bn. Over half took out their secret loan in order to pay off existing debts. However the remaining loaners used their cash injections to make purchases: 199,000 people (15%) used a loan to finance home improvements; 90,000 people (7%) used the money for medical reasons while 27,000 (2%) used their loan for cosmetic surgery.

While the majority of secret loans taken out were for £3,000 or less (54%), the mean value of these secret loans was found to be £5,720. However, this was skewed upwards by the 5% of people who are worryingly concealing large debts of between £20,000 and £50,000.

Paul Morrish, director of Abbey Loans, said: “Borrowing in secret – especially large amounts – is not advisable and we would encourage people to be open and honest about their finances. Talking about your financial situation with others can help so that you can be realistic about what is affordable.

“However, for those who are comfortable they can afford repayments, it’s worth doing some research to find the most appropriate deal for you. There are different types of loans that suit different circumstances.”

The majority of those with secret loans said that they had not told their partner or family bout the loan because they were too embarrassed. Over a quarter stated that the loan was for a part of their life that they considered private while 6% took out the loan in order to surprise their family or partner. The research also reveals that those aged between 35-and-44 (6%) were the most likely to have taken out a loan in secret while those aged 65-or-over were the least likely.

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