If you've bought on a store card, and you're struggling to keep up with repayments, what seemed like a good deal can suddenly become a big regret. The important thing to remember though, is that you’re not alone.
During a survey, it was estimated that nearly 7.9 million people in the UK have at least one store card. Furthermore, around five percent of these individuals did not understand the interest rates while four percent felt pressured into getting one.
12% mistakenly believed that store cards were like loyalty cards rather than a line of credit. This demonstrates that there is a lot of misunderstanding surrounding this type of lending - and the consequences.
Store cards often have higher interest rates than credit cards. Whilst the discounts and deals can be tempting, it's often better to compare credit cards and find the one with the lowest interest rate. If you don't keep up with store card repayments, those high-interest rates become a big problem.
Many store cards also have tempting introductory offers. For example, being completely interest-free for the first six or 12 months, which can make people spend with more confidence. However, when the interest starts being added, their existing debt becomes a big problem.
With a store card, it's possible to get into persistent debt if you only make the minimum repayments. This way, your payments each month may not even cover the interest. In this situation, your debts aren't being reduced.
If you miss your monthly payment or your buy now, pay later deadline, then you may have charges added. In one example, a store may charge £12 per missed payment, £12 for exceeding your credit limit and £12 per failed Direct Debit. These charges are separate to the 29.99% interest rate, which will also be added to your debt. You may have these defaults recorded on your credit file, damaging your credit score.
Store card debt should be handled in much the same way as any other credit card debt.
If you cannot keep up with repayments, and you've been in persistent debt for a while, then the store card provider might offer a reasonable repayment plan. Alternatively, there are solutions available, such as an IVA or debt management plan.
On arrangements such as these, you'll only pay back what you can afford every month. Your monthly payment will be passed on to your creditor, or split proportionately between all creditors if you owe money to more than one. With this, you should then be able to clear your debt slowly without sacrificing on the essentials.
Managing your money, and addressing store card debt, can be an enormous challenge. If you're struggling and losing sleep, you're certainly not alone.
We can help you to regain control and take the pressure away. We’d be happy to have a no-obligation chat about your circumstances and identify the best option for you. You aren't the only person to deal with debt in the UK - far from it - and talking to us means that you don't have to deal with it alone.