Credit cards being used to pay mortgagesSurge in people paying mortgages by credit card

07 January 2011

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Failing to pay your mortgage could cost you your house

Increasing numbers of people are paying their rent or mortgage with money borrowed on a credit card, research has indicated.

Housing charity Shelter found that around six percent of consumers - the equivalent of nearly 2.6 million people - said they had been forced to use plastic to keep up home repayments during the past 12 months. 

The survey of 2,234 people in Britain asked if they had borrowed money on their credit card to pay their rent or mortgage in the last 12 months. Six percent of respondents said yes compared to four percent in November 2009.

The charity commented that withdrawing cash on a credit card to pay housing costs was the worst possible course of action for householders. It warned that the situation could lead to thousands of families being pushed into a spiral of debt, eviction or repossession, and ultimately homelessness.

People urged to seek debt advice

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: 'This research brings into sharp focus how keeping a roof over their head has become a daily struggle for millions across the country.

'Already someone faces the nightmare of losing their home every two minutes, and we would urge every single one of these people now relying on credit to keep their home to seek advice urgently.'

Shelter has also produced a short film starring actress Jaime Winstone which it hopes will raise awareness of the dangers of using credit cards to cover rent and encourage people facing difficulties to seek help. To view the film visit

Which? debt advice

If you feel you might need help with tackling problem debts, read the Which? How to deal with debt advice guide and take a look at our 8 ways to get out of debt in 2011.

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