Almost half of residents in Cardiff are in some kind of financial debt, with a worrying 15% of UK borrowers turning to illegal money lenders, according to new research.

The study, from leading savings site, saw 48% of overall UK respondents admit they are in at least one type of debt (excluding mortgages), with credit card spending (78%) and overdraft repayments (44%) being the main reason they owe money.

Top reasons for being in debt:

1. Debt on credit cards – 78%
2. Using an overdraft – 44%
3. Taking out a personal loan – 42%
4. Using ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes – 42%
5. Borrowing from a friend or family member – 33%

The only UK location showing a higher rate of debt than Cardiff is Edinburgh, where 55% of residents are most likely to find themselves in some kind of debt while Derby shares the second spot with Cardiff, both cities see 53% of residents admitting they owe money.

UK cities with the highest proportion of people currently in financial debt:

1. Edinburgh – 55%
2. Derby and Cardiff – 53%
3. London – 52%
4. Norwich and Belfast – 50%
5. Leeds and Manchester – 50%

Perhaps more surprisingly, 15% of all respondents who owe money say that they are indebted to loan sharks – owing £744 on average.

Millenials more likely to use loan sharks

There are stark generational differences too, with millennials going down the loan shark route to obtain extra cash more than any other generation (23%). They are also big users of payday loans and ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes – both used by more than half of in-debt 25-34-year-olds (52%).

When asked how much money it takes to be ‘in debt’, millennials say they wouldn’t classify themselves as such until they owed £5,773. This is 36% higher than the amount those aged 55+ would consider to be the threshold of being in debt (£4,246).

Bank of Mum and Dad

When it comes to trying to get out of financial difficulty, not all generations are equal.  Gen Z-ers (18-24) are far less likely to cut back on experiences such as holidays (32%) than those aged 55+ (63%). Instead, more than two in five 18-24-year-olds would rather turn to their parents to overcome their financial troubles (42%). In the case of nearly one in 10 Gen Z-ers though, they consider debt to be nothing more than an “inevitability” and not something worth worrying about (9%).

Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor at, commented:

“While avoiding debt can sometimes be difficult, it is concerning to find such a high proportion of people have turned to illegal money lenders as a way to obtain finance. This is something that should be avoided at all costs – there are other measures that can be taken to help reduce debts instead.

“For example, while some may be hesitant to forgo holidays or even smaller recurring costs such as subscriptions to streaming services like Netflix or Spotify, cutting back can really help to save money. Our research shows that this is the most popular solution, with half of respondents saying they would miss out on Netflix or trips away in order to reduce their debts.

“Spending is of course inevitable, but in order to do so within your means, it’s worth considering easy steps like using discount codes to take advantage of the savings available to you when you shop.”

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