Published: 19/09/2019
  • 21% of young people rely on credit cards simply to meet every day living costs
  • Almost a third (32%) of young people don’t pay off their debt at the end of every month
  • 39% of 18-24-year olds are uncomfortable getting into credit card debt.

17 September 2019 – Credit cards can be a responsible way to spread the cost of large but infrequent purchases, however new research suggests that this is not the way many young people are choosing to take on debt. A new study from Compare the Market reveals that nearly a fifth (18%) of 18-24- year olds use their credit card every day.

Rather than taking on debt to spread the cost of expensive one-off items such as electronic goods, luxury items or holidays, younger generations are far more likely to rely on their credit card in order to survive financially until pay day; just over a fifth (21%) say that they depend on a credit card to pay their bills, 21% use credit to cover the cost of everyday living, and say they use their card simply to make ends meet (18%).

This stands in contrast to how other age groups take on debt. Over a quarter (28%) of people across all ages say they spend on their credit card to afford the cost of travelling and 27% say they use credit to make a large purchase such as a car, white goods or a special present.

Credit card holders must meet their minimum payment requirements each month to avoid going into default, but, according to the research, nearly a third (32%) of young people don’t pay off the full balance left on their card at the end of each month, leaving them susceptible to mounting interest.

There are plenty of steps which people can take to improve the way they access credit. According to the research, over half (56%) have never switched their credit card, meaning they may not be taking advantage of more competitive deals available and could be rolled onto high interest rates when their 0% APR period comes to an end.

There are many tools available to help people work out their borrowing eligibility, but as many as 70% of young people have never used a soft credit checker before applying. Soft checkers calculate the percentage chance of being accepted for credit cards, without impacting your credit score.

The Credit Card Eligibility Check is the latest development from Autosergei,’s Service offering which develops creative solutions to help simplify people’s lives.

John Crossley

Head of Money
Compare the Market

“The way we view debt is changing, with credit cards no longer predominantly used to spread large costs but now seen as a way to manage everyday spending, partly due to the uptick in contactless payments. Using credit cards to bolster household spending can be positive if people engage responsibly with their debt and choose a card that rewards them through offerings, such as vouchers and cashback.

“What is concerning is the fact that many young people have never switched their credit card. Even if you are on a 0% APR, these deals typically only last for a fixed period of time before you are automatically rolled onto a far higher interest rate. There are many tools available to help you find a suitable card, check your credit score without damaging your credit rating and make sure you are on a deal where you don’t pay unnecessary interest."

Notes to editors:

The findings are based on a survey of 2,048 UK adults, commissioned by and conducted by Populus, the research house. The survey was conducted on 8-9 May 2019.

About Compare the Market was launched in 2006 and has grown rapidly over the past twelve years to become one of the UK’s leading price comparison websites. provides customers with an easy way to make the right choice for them on a wide range of products including motor, home, life, travel and pet insurance as well as utilities and money products such as, credit cards and loans. actively works with its brand partners to help provide great services to customers and are trading names of Compare The Market Limited. Compare The Market Limited is an insurance intermediary, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Firm Reference Number 778488).