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Christmas credit: Brits borrow £6.6 billion over festive season.

14th January 2020



•    Brits who borrowed took an average of £435 each to fund the festive season, with 17% of Brits spending more than they could afford.
•    21% overspent during Christmas 2019, relying heavily on credit to fund the festivities.
•    Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) people want to cut back on the amount they owe in 2020.
•    TSB encourages borrowers to use the new year to take stock of their finances, shop around for the best credit card deals and consolidate their personal debt.

UK consumers borrowed £6.6 billion to fund Christmas 2019 - an average of £435 each of those who borrowed - according to new research² from TSB, despite over half (58%) who said they wanted to borrow less over the course of the year³.

A fifth (21%) say they overspent in 2019 and nearly three in ten (29%) say they spent more than they did during Christmas 2018. 38% leaned on credit to fund this spending, with 17% admitting they wouldn’t have been able to have the Christmas they wanted without it.

The average Brit will spread their debt throughout 2020, with 29% using credit cards with average monthly repayments of £48 to pay back the cost of Christmas. In some cases, borrowers have up to two (29%), three (13%) or four (5%) credit cards, further driving up the amount they need to pay.

This research comes at a time as TSB reduces its balance transfer fee to 1.45% across its Platinum and Classic credit cards during the first 90 days of account opening. TSB also offers its lowest personal loan rate on of 3.2% APR on balances between £7,500 and £25,000.

Craig Bundell, TSB Director of Everyday Banking said: “Despite our best intentions, Christmas is an expensive time of year and we often end up spending far more than planned as we enjoy the festivities with family and friends. Credit cards and other forms of borrowing can be a vital lifetime in helping spread these costs yet can leave us with debt hangovers as we enter the new year.

“Many of us are also unaware of the variety of options available that can help make debt repayment more manageable. Taking the time to shop around for the best deals or considering consolidating multiple credit cards with a personal loan can make a real difference.”

Credit money worries

With the new year and new decade fully underway, the research reveals that nearly half (42%) of Brits are already worried about their personal finances for 2020.

20% of people with a loan or who have spent on a credit card say they are concerned about meeting their repayments, while over half (52%) say they worry about money at least monthly.

Craig Bundell continues: “At TSB we understand the festive financial fallout can be stressful, which is why we’re sharing top tips to help people better manage their money this January. It’s also why all our personal loans come with two payment holidays as standard, meaning our customers can take a break from repayments whenever they need, up to twice a year.”

New year resolutions

The research highlights that many people are entering 2020 with good financial intentions. One in six (16%) want to feel more in control of their finances in the year ahead, while 18% want to cut back on their personal debt.

However, over half (56%) agree that the new year is a suitable time to catch up on personal admin and create personal finance goals such as saving more and spending less (49%).

TSB shares top financial resolutions for 2020:

•    Create a budget and try to stick to it.  For example, small changes can make a big difference; cut out buying your daily coffee, bring your own lunch in. 
•    Pay off your debts, tackling the most expensive debt first. If you find your credit card interest is too high, have a look at the best balance transfer offers available.
•    You could also do some research and consolidate your debt with a personal loan. 
•    If you set goals you will be more likely to save money.  For example, if you have a holiday coming up, need some new clothes or planning a trip to a theme park. You could also use this technique when saving for Christmas 2020.  
•    Shop around - look at your other regular outgoings such as your utility costs, phone bill and research if you can get a better deal elsewhere.
•    Save regularly; monthly savings accounts are a great way to save.
•    Don’t forget to treat yourself every so often, it makes savings so much more worthwhile.


Media Contacts


Avni Raval, Media Relations Manager
T: 0207 003 9369 |

TSB Media Relations
T: 0207 003 9369 |
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Notes to editors


•    ¹ Calculated based on proportion of survey respondents who borrowed money to cover the cost of Christmas and the latest ONS population figures:
•    ² TSB’s research is taken from a total sample size of 2000 adults, nationally representative. The research was carried out in January 2020 by Opinium. 
•    ³ TSB’s research is taken from a total sample size of 2000 adults, nationally representative. The research was carried out in December 2018 by OnePoll. 
•    TSB offers 3.2% APR representative for loans between £7,500 and £ 25,000 for 1 – 5 years. More information here:
•    TSB is also offering one of the best balance transfer fees of 1.45% across its Classic and Platinum credit cards. More information here:


Table 1: Spending during Christmas 2019

Table 1: Spending during Christmas 2019
I overspent during Christmas 2019 21%
I spent more than I could afford on Christmas 2019 17%
I wouldn’t have been able to have the Christmas I want without credit or loans 17%
I’m concerned about how long it’s going to take to pay off my Christmas spending 15%