Eight million Brits missing bill payments

woman with head in handsDavid Cheskin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A new study has found that one in six people in the UK have missed a payment for a bill in the last 12 months. The most commonly missed payment was a credit card, followed by council tax - both of which can have a devastating effect on your credit record.

So just what do these missed bills mean for you?

Missed bills

The research, by MoneySupermarket.com, found that three million people had missed a credit card bill in the last year, while 1.9 million people missed a council tax payment. And these aren't the only bills proving a step too far. Mobile phones, personal loans, broadband, Sky and gas and electricity bills were also high up on the list of payments most missed.

Those living in Scotland and Wales were the biggest culprits for missing a bill payment, with 22% neglecting their finances, while people in the East Midlands were the least likely to miss a payment, with almost 88% not missing a payment on any major bill within the last 12 months.


Kevin Mountford, Head of Banking at MoneySupermarket.com, explains that the effect can be far-reaching. In the first instance missing a credit card payment would mean a loss of the promotional rate on the card. "For example, missing your first payment on a 12 month 0% credit card deal would cost an additional £300 in interest over the 12 months if you moved on to an average credit card rate of 17.29%. Therefore, prioritising your monthly obligations and setting up a direct debit for the most vital bills is a must for those who tend to forget to pay on their deadline."

If you build up missed payments, your credit record will show it, and the rates you can apply for in future will be harmed. Mountford explains: "Missing a payment could have a knock-on effect for future applications such as credit cards and mortgages. Those applying for a credit card need to prove they can make regular and stable payments and any black marks against a credit profile would hinder chances of being approved."

Worst bills to miss

Some missed bills, however, count more than others when it comes to your credit file, so it's essential that we get to grips with those that have a far-reaching effect.

Mountford explains: "Repayments on credit cards and other financial transactions such as mortgages and use of overdraft facilities are all recorded on your credit file. The majority of household bills and government related fines and payments aren't recorded, but contract mobile phone payments are, so it can be very easy to get caught out by not paying bills on certain products, especially if you are not aware of the consequences of your actions."

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Eight million Brits missing bill payments

This takes time, but once you know the cost of a phone call, putting the dryer on, or a bag of potatoes, it enables you to judge far better how much you can afford to consume.

Once you know the base price, you are in a position to keep your eyes open for a better offer. If you see a discount you can judge for yourself whether it actually constitutes a bargain. For bigger things like utilities it enables you to do a proper price comparison and see if you can cut your bills.

Don't just assume that the premium range is better, try the every-day brand, or even the basic version and see if you spot the difference. Likewise, consider trading down your supermarket from one of the big players to local markets or discounters like Aldi.

If you plan what you buy to match what you actually cook and eat then not only will you be able to budget far more effectively, but you'll also waste much less and find your money goes further without you having to try.

If you can't think of a way to get your meat for less, consider a vegetarian day once a week. If you can't find petrol any cheaper, then work on making your driving as efficient as possible. The more you can think of clever alternatives the less you will have to make painful cuts to make ends meet.

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