Post-Christmas debt tipped to hit $397m

Over 3 million Australians are set to fork out $397 million in interest payments as they face a ‘debt hangover’ following the festive period.

According to an analysis of Reserve Bank data conducted by comparison website finder.com.au, Australians likely borrowed $28 billion on credit cards in December last year. It was predicted that $9.8 billion was spent on gifts.

The comparison website predicted that Australians are potentially going to pay back $397 million in interest payments after accumulating “billions” of interest on credit cards during the festive season.

The figures also reveal that the average amount owed after the holiday season was $1,666 per credit card across Australia.

Finder.com.au money expert Bessie Hassan remarked that January can often be a difficult month for organising personal finances as Australians attempt to recover from a “debt hangover”.

“It’s easy to fall behind when the bills for festive spending flow over into the new calendar year,” she said.

Ms Hassan advised Australians to take action as quickly as possible, particularly by considering a balance transfer to reduce interest charges.

“From a financial perspective, a 0 per cent balance transfer can alleviate the burden of paying interest, which enables you to repay your balance more efficiently,” she explained.

According to the finder.com.au database, there are currently 150 credit cards offering 0 per cent balance transfer deals for up to 24 months.

[Related: High household debt changes bank outlook to ‘negative’]

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Francesca Krakue

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