Men could be more likely to incur credit card charges due to poor consumer choices than women, research from Confused.com has indicated.
The study revealed males typically pay 26 per cent more on life insurance than females, with one-quarter of men never examining the market for better policies.
Furthermore, while 39 per cent of women begin buying Christmas presents in January, 19 per cent of the opposite sex wait until the week before the day.
Also, 24 per cent of males will go to their favourite shop by default when purchasing from supermarkets or department stores, while 48 per cent of ladies shop around, making their final selection in a sale or over the internet.
This corresponds with the findings of the Financial Efficiency study from Standard Life, which found 51 per cent of females browse the internet for good deals, compared with 47 per cent of males.
“Men need to learn from women if they want to get the best deals – on life insurance, but also day to day items,” head of life insurance at Confused.com Matthew Lloyd said.
People could be incurring loan charges due to rising inflation, statements by an expert have indicated.
Informed Choice managing director Martin Bamford argued borrowing cash might be the “only way to maintain a certain lifestyle” for some people at the moment, due to the squeeze on household incomes.
He noted it would be more sensible for these members of the public to reduce their expenditure than to endure credit card charges.
However, the specialist remarked many individuals could have a lot of demands on their attention and income, which would make cutting outgoings hard for them to do.
“Inflation has been a factor in people borrowing more money,” Mr Bamford added.
Figures from the Finance and Leasing Association revealed a seven per cent growth in consumer credit lending during February 2012 when compared with the same month in 2011.
This is the best growth in more than one year, although the recovery is still fragile, the organisation warned.
Repayment of credit card bills more than offset spending during February 2012, as borrowers expressed caution over taking on new credit and looked to avoid credit card charges.
According to latest figures from the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) £7 billion was spent on credit cards during the month, a figure broadly in line with the average seen over the past six months.
However, this was exceeded by borrowers paying off outstanding balances and the body noted demand for other forms of unsecured borrowing, such as loans and overdrafts, remained weak.
“Repayment of this unsecured borrowing continues to outweigh new lending. This behaviour has resulted in a constant contraction of borrowing levels over the past three years,” the BBA said.
Statistics director David Dooks added the “difficult economic times” mean both households and businesses are exercising caution with regards to their finances.
The BBA, which represents over 200 banks from 60 countries, recently welcomed the launch of the National Loan Guarantee Scheme, saying it will help economic growth in the UK.
Companies that deal with credit card claims and help consumers handle bank charges have been provided with guidance from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
The government body highlighted examples of unfair practices some of these enterprises engage in, such as running websites that make the business appear like a public organisation or charity and making other misleading claims.
Furthermore, debt management firms were advised against sending unsolicited marketing to members of the public, as well as providing their workers with financial incentives to encourage them to promote unsuitable products to clients.
In certain situations, these organisations will be expected to refer customers to non-profit organisations.
Overall, the firms are expected to be transparent and provide people with all of the information they would need to make informed decisions.
“It’s good to see the OFT tackle unacceptable marketing practices carried out by many debt management companies,” Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said.
Household spending in 2012 is set to rise more than was previously thought as payment protection insurance (PPI) compensation improves the situation of many families.
This is according to the Economic and Fiscal Outlook report from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which said the majority of PPI claims will be concluded in 2012.
This will “provide some short-term support to household consumption growth”, the report continued.
However, it said this rise will still be subdued throughout 2012 and 2013.
Consumption is therefore set to heighten by 0.5 per cent this year, compared with the organisation’s November forecast of only 0.1 per cent, which the OBR said is “mainly due” to the effects of PPI repayments.
This money will offer “a little support this year but less in the next”, the report remarked.
Executive director of consumer advocacy group Which? Richard Lloyd recently called on banks to deal with PPI claims faster and to streamline the process to make it simpler for people to get their money back.
Payday loan charges are causing substantial problems to UK consumers at the moment, it has been said.
Debt Support Trust director Stuart Carmichael argued the government should address this issue.
He noted his organisation is dealing with a significant number of people who have problems with payday lenders.
The companies involved often refuse to speak to his group and will only converse with the person in debt, which causes the amount of money the individual owes to continue growing, the specialist continued.
Mr Carmichael argued this can result in thousands of pounds being added to debts in “just a few months” due to the high interest fees.
He also pointed to bank charges incurred through unauthorised overdrafts as something “horrendous”.
“I’ve been caught out myself several times,” the expert admitted.
However, Mr Carmichael stated financial institutions detail these fees in writing.
Money Advice Trust spokesman Paul Crayston recently advised people reliant on credit and payday loans to seek assistance as quickly as possible.