(Australian Associated Press)
Australian families racked up an eye watering $27.5 billion in credit card debt over the Christmas period.
And they are expected to fork out an extra $286 million in interest payments, according to credit card comparison site creditcardfinder.com.au’s analysis of Reserve Bank data.
Of the $27.5 billion borrowed in December, $3.2 billion was spent on Christmas gifts, creditcardfinder says.
The average per credit card amount owed post-December is $1,668.
Creditcardfinder consumer advocate Bessie Hassan says more than one in three (35 per cent) Australians are not expected to pay off their Christmas debt on time with the average consumer most likely to take up to five months to do so.
“It certainly was a case of spend first, worry later for a lot of people who are now facing the reality of a Christmas debt hangover,” Ms Hassan said.
“Credit cards can revert to much higher rates if you don’t pay off the transferred debt during the transfer period.”
She said there were credit cards offering interest-free balance transfer deals for up to 20 months but they could revert to much higher rates if people miss the due date.