Britons saddled with £1.2bn of debt from ex-partners

14th August 2015


Britons have been saddled with £1.2 billion worth of debt racked up on shared credit cards by an ex partner.


Over two million Britons have been in a position of paying of a credit card used by an ex.


As well as an average credit card debt of £457 run up by an ex, ex-partners have run up £313 in joint account fees and £327 on shared online shopping accounts, according to comparison site uSwitch.


Clearing this extra debt taken four in 10 consumers more than half a year and for one in 10 the debt takes more than five years to clear, meaning for many the debt lasts longer than the relationship.


Exes have also incurred debt on a range of other financial products, including £463 in mortgage debt, £313 of debt on joint current accounts and £327 on shared online shopping accounts.


The problems arise for those who don’t cancel joint accounts and financial products after a break up. Despite the consequences, more than two-thirds of those who have shared a financial product with a former partner said it was still open five years after they separated.


A third of those who shared a PIN code with a former partner said they did not get round to changing it and a fifth who shared a credit card said it remained active after they split up.


One of the key problems in relationships is that Britons aren’t talking about the finances before taking out joint financial products. One in five said before jumping into a shared account they didn’t know anything about their other half’s financial history.


Failing to find out about the financial history of a new partner you plan to share finances with can have dire consequences. Half of Britons who have shared a financial products with an ex said doing so has had a significant impact on their own personal finances and 30% said their credit score had got worse after sharing a financial product.


Nicolas Frankom, money expert at uSwitch, said: ‘When it comes to finances, only fools rush in. Money might not be the sexiest pillow talk, but not addressing it can lead to financial, as well as emotional, heartache further down the line.


‘Being left with debts that last longer than the relationship only rubs salt in the wound after a break-up. The reality is that couples can remain financially linked by their credit report long after a relationship breaks down and an account has been cancelled.


‘If you do nothing else, make sure you keep a check on your own credit report so you can spot anything unusual on it. If you do break up with your partner, make sure to close all shared accounts and contact each of the three main credit agencies to remove any financial links between you and your ex.’

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