'60% go on credit detox' before making financial application

PA

Nearly two-thirds of Britons will go on a "credit detox" before taking out a product like a credit card, loan or mortgage - but many return to their bad habits as soon as their application gets approved, a survey has found.

Some 60% of people surveyed for AA Financial Services said that in order to improve their chances of being accepted for a financial product, they would clean up their financial habits beforehand.

The aim of doing this would be to improve their score with credit reference agencies when they applied for a product.

Steps taken while on a financial detox could include avoiding impulse buys, keeping a stronger rein on spending, eating and drinking out less, shifting money around to pay off debts and shopping around for cheaper deals on household bills. The typical financial detox period would last for six months.

But nearly half (45%) of those who said they would go on a detox admitted to returning to their bad habits once the product they wanted had been approved.

Men were more likely than women to return to their bad old ways, with 51% of men saying they would return to their bad habits, compared with 39% of women.

The survey of more than 2,000 people from across the UK also found that nearly two-fifths of people (39%) would be embarrassed to show anyone their bank statements and nearly a quarter (22%) think they would fail in their application for a loan, credit card or mortgage if they did not improve their spending habits in advance.

Michael Johnson, director of AA Financial Services, said: "Improving your spending habits is a good thing, but it is important to make sure you stick to it in the long term.

"If you are looking for a loan, credit card or mortgage then you should be aware that your spending habits matter. Lenders will always check your credit score and good habits will open up better rates, not just make approval more likely.

"Scoring is based on how you manage your money, including the number of outstanding balances you might have on loans or credit cards. And a missed monthly credit card payment for example, can adversely affect your score."

Millennials (18 to 34-year-olds) were the most likely to go on credit detox before applying for a loan, credit card or mortgage, with 78% of people in this age group saying they would do so.

They were also the most embarrassed about their bank statements - with many saying they would be particularly embarrassed if their parents saw them.

Mr Johnson continued: "It can be surprising how much of a difference the smallest changes to spending can make. It all adds up."

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