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UK credit card market report 2022

The latest report of UK credit card trends — for September 2022 — provides clear signs of consumer indebtedness as the cost of living crisis impacts finances.

Analysis of the largest consortium of UK cards data shows clear signs of the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

In particular, the data reveals that veteran credit card accounts — those that have been open for five years or more and which are normally considered low-risk by lenders — have shown an increase in the average balance where they have missed two or more payments. This will be a concern for credit card providers.

The percentage of cardholders missing one payment is also rising, although, overall, the average balance for customers missing two payments is trending downwards.

This suggests that lenders have already taken targeted activity earlier in the year to help customers who have missed one payment to avoid the debt escalating.

This targeted activity will be critical now as the numbers of cardholders missing one payment increases.

Another indicator of consumers reining in spending is in the total average sales on credit cards. This has dropped in September, in contrast to the summer months.

There is, however, another worrying trend in the percentage of payments to balance.

Cardholders are starting to pay less than earlier in the year, perhaps suggesting they are no longer able to rely on pandemic savings. The percentage of accounts paying the full balance has also decreased for the last three months, which may be a reflection that customers are now not able to make the full balance.


  • Average total sales were £775 – 4.56% lower than August
  • The average active balance also dropped in September to £1,595 – 1.14% lower than August and reversing the upward trend seen over the previous 18 months
  • Customers missing one payment increased by 8.3% compared to August and 9.1% year on year
  • Accounts with two missed payments increased marginally month on month — by 0.6% — but those missing three payments increased by 3.7% compared to August

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