Plastic spending has risen but households pay off more debt

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The Independent Online

Spending on credit cards soared over Christmas, but people are still paying off more than they borrow, according to figures from the British Bankers' Association.

Shoppers spent £7.2bn on plastic in December, making 119 million purchases with their cards. The average new spending in the six months to the end of the year was £6.9bn on 115 million items.

But card repayments in December totalled £7.4bn, reducing the overall amount outstanding by £0.2bn to £35.9bn. There was a £400m rise in new spending on cards over the month an an equivalent rise in the amount repaid.

The BBA's statistics director David Dooks said: "The household sector generally is focusing on debt repayment amid inflated household expenses and a continuing air of uncertainty."

The number of mortgage approvals in the month – at 73,382 – was slightly down on the six month average of 74,161.