One in five consumers are using credit cards to pay household bills, according to a survey.
Of the 21% using credit to pay utility bills, 11% or 3.4 million have turned to their card to pay for gas and electricity, with 52% of them blaming recent price hikes, the poll for comparison website TotallyMoney.com found.
Some 6.5% pay their council tax on credit cards and 4.3% do the same for their water bills, the poll revealed.
With many providers levying charges of around 2% for credit card payments, this could add £29 to the average annual council tax bill, £24 to the average annual energy bill and £8 to water bills, the site said.
The survey also found 5% of those renting are paying with credit cards and 4% of homeowners are using their card to pay off their mortgage.
TotallyMoney chief executive Will Becker said: "With so many people admitting that they pay household bills on credit cards, this is a clear sign of financial distress.
"In effect, paying bills in this way is a self-inflicted price hike as the addition of surcharges and potential interest charges are just adding to household costs. This is an even bigger issue for those who cannot pay their credit card bill in full at the end of the month.
"However, it is not a long term solution and for many it may be as simple as spring cleaning your finances and saving enough money each month to keep you out of the red."
:: OnePoll surveyed 2,000 credit card holders on March 4.