Home-owners turn to credit cards to make mortgage repayments

A charity has revealed that over the past year up to one million households borrowed money using a credit card to pay mortgage repayments or rent.

According to the housing charity Shelter, this figure represents 6 percent of UK homes, which was described as a “shocking discovery”.

The survey carried out by the charity questioned 2,022 peopleple

Shelter said that while those in lower social groups were more prone to using their credit cards, the middle classes were also affected. The figures suggested that lower social groups saw an 8 percent increase in credit card uses over the past 12 months, while middle class people totalled 4 percent.

Shelter said many of those who had resorted to using credit cards were now at risk of becoming homeless, as in some cases defaulting on credit card repayments can lead to homes being repossessed.

Shelter added that those struggling to keep up with mortgage repayments should seek expert advice.

Kay Boycott, Shelter’s director of policy and campaigns said: “If people are already struggling to the extent that they fear losing their home, increasing credit card debt cannot be the answer”.

In 2008, Citizens Advice reported a rise in lenders taking court action to obtain a charging order, in order to secure a previously unsecured debt against the borrower’s home.

While it is quite rare for cases like this to actually lead to property repossessions, such a move would make it possible for a lender to request a court order for the sale of a property to pay off debts.

Citizens Advice found that since the turn of the millennium there had been a 722 percent increase in the number of charging order applications by unsecured creditors.

The charity also highlighted that 74 percent of the 132,000 applications in 2007 resulted in charging orders being made.