A Tale of Credits

It is said that everything in life comes a full circle. That is so true in every facet of life, including the most important of all- one that we call money. Money has assumed many forms through centuries, for eg. silk, stone money, iron nails and finally, we have arrived at plastic money. The new age credit card has become everybody’s best friend what with all the advantages that it provides for the fast paced life today. Then where is the circle that I mentioned?

Evolution Of Credit

It is interesting to know that the concept of credit existed three thousand years ago. It was used in Assyria, Babylon and Egypt. The first announcement for credit was cited in 1730 by a gentleman called Christopher Thornton who offered furniture that could be paid off for on a weekly basis. The trend caught on and extended to clothes.

From eighteenth to the beginning of twentieth century, tallymen sold clothes for little weekly payments for which they maintained a record or tally on a wooden stick. One side of the stick had the record of the amount of debt and the other side the payment record.

“Buy now, pay later” system began in the United States of America in the 1920s. 1950s saw the launch of the current form of plastic money by Diners Club and American Express. Its wide spread popularity happened with the use of magnetic strip on the credit card. The London Transit Authority installed the first magnetic stripe system in 1960s. So here is the circle that I mentioned right in the beginning. What we thought is a new age invention has actually been there from much before our time.

The Scenario Today

The current system allows people to borrow from credit card companies of networks like Visa, Master Card, etc. to make purchases. The amount can be paid off in installments every month. There is hardly any individual today who does not own at least one credit card. Let us have a glimpse of some of the benefits of using plastic money:

• One need not carry cash yet make purchases of desire with the use of these cards.
• The monthly installments can be designed as per one’s own comfort level.
• Payment can be withheld for merchandise that is flawed under some circumstances.
• Short-term borrowing is economical. Interest is charged on the balance that has to be paid off.
• Competition is making credit card companies adopt strategies like additional insurance cover, cash back, mileage for air travel, discounted holidays, etc. which is a great advantage for users.

So many perks obviously mean a rise of the purchasing power, both out of necessity and desire. The invention of credit card has certainly left us with lighter wallets, pun intended.

Travel and Shop All on One Card

Sometimes it’s not just one single thing that makes life easier but a combination of different factors. The winning combination principle has been applied to a new credit card on the market which innovatively combines three cards in one in order to offer you ease, convenience and downright versatility when travelling, making purchases and generally going about everyday life.

OnePulse is a unique product that provides the convenience and speed of having three cards in one; an Oyster card, a regular credit card and a cashless credit card.

The in-built Oyster card provides you with a quick and easy way to travel in and around London whether by bus, tube, tram, DLR or on the overground. Used in precisely the same way as a regular Oyster card, there are no real changes to adapt to and you still benefit from all the advantages associated with having an Oyster card

Auto top-up is an additional feature exclusive to the OnePulse card which is designed to make life that little bit easier. By enabling auto top-up, the balance on your Oyster card will automatically be topped up with a pre-set amount of either £20 or £40 every time your balance falls below the value of £5. You’ll never need to queue to top up your Oyster card again and you can enjoy easy and fuss free travel when you need it most.

If you’re already an Oyster card user don’t worry about losing the credit on your exciting Oyster card as the balance can be transferred over. What else could possibly make travel in the capital easier!

The credit card function is simply that and is used in exactly the same way as any other credit card with a competitive interest rate that helps keep your spending costs to a minimum. The value and flexibility associated with traditional credit cards can be fully applied here and security features are the same too, with chip and pin technology utilised.

The third and final feature that makes this card stand out from all other is the OneTouch payment system which allows you to make purchases under £10 in a quick and convenient way.

OneTouch is a cashless means of paying for goods which total less than the limit amount of £10 per transaction. You simply pass your card in front of a secure reader so you don’t need to enter your pin every time and you never need to rummage around for cash again when making those smaller purchases. Furthermore, time and trouble is saved once again, so shopping and travelling really should be easier with a OnePulse card.

Connecticut Protects Residents From Identity Theft With Credit Freeze Law

Sometimes consumers are the last-in-line with news and control over their credit status. No longer is that the case in Connecticut. Spurred by the proactive Attorney General, Richard Bluementhal, State legislators joined the hand full of states that have decided “enough is enough” in terms of regaining citizens’ control over identity theft and criminal attempts to heist bank accounts or commit credit card fraud. No matter if you live in New London, New Haven, Greenwich or anywhere else in the Nutmeg State, you’ve now got the right to control the release of personal credit information.

Who’s Against The Connecticut Credit Freeze Law? Remarkably the players in the credit bureau “front line”, namely Experian, Equifax and TransUnion along with many consumer credit financial institutions and banks are dead-set opposed to credit freezing by “ordinary consumers”.

Why? They lose out on money. Think of your credit report as “intellectual property”, however with the twist that you don’t own it. Yes, it’s all about you, what you buy, how well or promptly you settle your credit obligations. However, to the credit bureaus the 150 million plus individual records represent ongoing cash flow as credit card companies, department store retailers, gasoline companies and a raft of other businesses “churn” business opportunity by offering new low interest credit card facilities.

Where Connecticut Residents Get Control On New Credit Enquiries. Here’s the rub. If you, the peon consumer, take control over your own credit record in terms of when it’s made available to new requests, then you effectively control the timing of revenue for both the credit bureaus as well as the merchants keen to sell yet another credit card inducement to selling gear. It’s certainly in your “best interest”, but clearly not in the commercial interests of the credit bureaus and merchants.

How Does Connecticut Credit Freeze Stop Identity Theft Fraudsters? Since identity theft can be triggered by intercepting your mail, stealing your auto, renting State birth records (like in California), corrupting an online web seller’s data base, or stealing a pocket book filled with your credit cards or checking account data, you’re not going to stop it by having a gaggle of politicians pass a credit freeze bill. However, what a credit freeze protection creates is a key “obstacle” which you control for impeding any unauthorized attempt to obtain your credit records or any like private data that might be contained in your personal report. You see, the identity theft bad guys know the drill… they steal your personal data… then they attempt to apply for new credit cards which they’ll use to rapidly max-out credit limits… meanwhile, you won’t even know of the existence of this new credit card until the bill arrive in the mail.

Gotcha! The bad guys get “open running room” for 30 days or more… and then they vanish, leaving you holding the bag and having to unwind a now serious credit problem. In Connecticut at least this fraud opportunity will be eliminated for the 20% or more of State residents who take up the opportunity to file and pay the fee of $10 per credit bureau. Perhaps residents may be motivated to freeze credit after reading recent news of the attack on Mastercard and Visa records where over 40 million records may have been fraudulently copied by unauthorized persons.

What The Connecticut Credit Freeze Means In Terms Of New Credit Or Employer Background Checks. Once you impose a credit freeze, no banks insurers or any other party can either obtain credit information nor can any new credit be issued unless you personally release the report. You do this in a formal notification to the credit bureau, plus a $12 fee for each enquiry. What this means if you’re changing jobs or careers is that no background check will “go through” unless you formally notify the credit bureau.

Connecticut credit freeze laws signal a new trend in awareness to fight back against identity theft and credit card fraud. For more info and family protection strategies please go to:-

Londoners ‘Have Highest Levels Of Debt’

Those living in the capital appear to have the highest proportions of debt in the country, new figures show.

According to research released by Callcredit, the six most indebted postal areas throughout Britain are all within the Greater London region. Uxbridge, north London and Ilford are among the districts where the proportion of money owed through loans and other forms is at its highest. The top six was completed by Harrow as well as the eastern and south-eastern regions of London. Meanwhile, the north-west of the city was ranked as having the ninth largest amount of debt in the country on the postal area basis.

Outside of the capital, residents from Birmingham, Motherwell and Liverpool completed the top ten in terms of having major levels of indebtedness. On the other hand, consumers from the south-west of England seem to be the most capable when it comes to handling their finances, as Bournemouth, Taunton, Bath, Dorchester and Salisbury were ranked as having the lowest proportion of people owing money via personal loans, credit cards, overdrafts and other types of borrowing.

Throughout Britain, London, Scotland, the north-east, Wales and the West Midlands have the biggest numbers of consumers in the red. However, the credit reference agency pointed out that there has been a “worrying spike” in the amount owed through personal loans and various forms of credit across the country. Since the firm’s last study in early 2006, the Isle of Man has the 56th highest level of debt, whereas at the beginning of last year it was ranked 100th. The north-west city of Lancaster, meanwhile, has surged some 24 places to 83rd as Callcredit points to the “borrowing boom” seen over recent months.

Commenting on the figures, Owen Roberts, head of Callcredit Consumer, said: “Despite the recent credit crunch, consumers seem to be borrowing more and more, especially in the capital. This goes to further illustrate that the increasing cost of living in London isn’t being matched by corresponding salary increases, which leaves people relying more on credit than on savings.”

Mr Roberts added that borrowers should make sure that they are aware of their financial standing and identify any areas in which they can reduce pressure on their spending. He asserted: “It is important that we all take the time to review our borrowing habits and make sure that we don’t end up owing more than we are able to pay back. It doesn’t take long to work through your finances; using your bank and credit card statement and a copy of your credit report you can take back control of your financial life.”

As a result, those who are worried that they are unable to manage their money may wish to consider applying for a debt consolidation loan as a means of reducing arrears accrued across a variety of sources, such as credit cards and unsecured loans, into a single monthly repayment. Writing in the Daily Mirror earlier this month, Nicholas Hopkins reported that taking out a debt consolidation loan “can be a good way” for borrowers to get their finances back on track. However, he warned consumers against the danger of going back into the red and reminded them that they still have to meet monthly demands for payment.

Using London Public Transport – Underground, Buses, & Travel Passes

The London public transport system is for the leisure visitor, one of its great assets and opportunities. An organisation called Transport for London coordinates the various transport options on offer; namely buses, underground railway, overground railway, Docklands light railway, and river transport. This network covers the whole Greater London area with a comprehensive network of services. The only airports within this area are Heathrow and London City Airports.

The area is organised in six circular zones which ripple out from the centre. Nearly all the places visitors want to travel to and nearly all hotel accommodation is in Zones 1 and 2, though Heathrow is in Zone 6.
For the sake of simplicity we will focus on this inner area, zones 1 and 2.
Public transport here is dominated by the London Underground and London’s famous red buses.

You cannot board any bus or train without pre-purchasing a ticket. The single fare on a bus is a flat fare however far you travel. The London Underground fare is determined by the number of zones you travel through on a journey. You can switch trains between the various lines within any single journey.

At Underground stations there is always a manned ticket office and automatic ticket machines. At bus stops there is a ticket machine where you can purchase bus tickets.

All underground lines and bus routes operate between about 05:00 and 24:00.
There is also a worthwhile network of night buses, especially in the centre of London which for the night owl are both frequent and comprehensive enough to be of real value.

Nearly all travellers on London’s public transport system do not pay for individual journeys though. Instead one of the multi-trip passes is used. The fares set by Transport for London make it much cheaper to purchase one of these cards than to pay individually for each journey.
For the visitor the easiest place to purchase any of the passes is a London Underground ticket office or a local retail ticket point. You will see signs in the windows of many shops, especially newsagents, advertising that they sell the range of ticketing options at the same price as from the Underground Stations.

The most popular option for the visitor to London is the one day or three day Travelcard. This covers all public transport options within set zones. The Heathrow Express train is not covered by the pass. For the vast majority of visitors to London this means a Zone 1 & 2 Travelcard.
During weekdays there are two fare options, you have to pay significantly more if your Travelcard is used before 09:30 during the week.
Children, (less than 16 years old) travel free on the buses. You can also purchase a Travelcard for children for just 1 pound sterling covering all zones.
If you purchase a Travelcard for just zones 1 & 2, you can use it for the buses on all zones.

On buses you just show your card to the driver as you board. If you board one of London’s long single deck ‘bendy’ buses get on through any entrance and be prepared to show your ticket for inspection. Hit squads of inspectors descend on a bus sealing all exits and will demand a valid ticket to be shown.
On the Underground you will have to insert your ticket into a barrier on entering and exiting stations to gain entry and exit.

You will also see many references to the ‘Oyster Card’ scheme. These are really aimed at residents of London. You will see yellow pads on buses and at the ticket barriers at Underground Stations. Oyster Cards are credit card sized cards that can be electronically loaded with electronic money or a season ticket. For example you can load say 10 GBP onto your card, when you swipe that card to gain access to a bus the fare is automatically deducted from the 10 GBP value on your card.

The big attraction is the sizable discounts on individual journeys purchased this way. Most Londoners will have season tickets which are also held in the Oyster Card. The product most attractive to visitors is the 7 day Travelcard. You cannot purchase a 7 day Travelcard without having an Oyster Card.

The feature of Oyster Cards which discourages most visitors, especially overseas visitors, is the fact you have to pay a 3 GBP refundable deposit for an Oyster Card. When you no longer require the Oyster Card you hand it in and fill in a form. You do not receive any money there and then, instead a sterling cheque is sent to your home address at a later date.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/111268

Shopping in London

Shopping is one of the main reasons people flock to London in their hoards all year round. With over 40,000 shops from huge department stores to fabulous fashion shops, London is the heart for fashion, style and music. A wide variety of shops are all over London, from high priced exclusive clothing and goods, (some severely over priced I might add) to some amazing deals. For lovers of clothes and shoe shopping and more shoe shopping ladies, London has all the designs and the wackiest looks. But before you start, ring your bank, up your credit card limit, its time to start spending!

Camden Market is the place to go if you want cheaper stuff, it’s located next to the Camden Locks; this is London’s most popular market. It gets extremely busy here at weekends with thousands of traders, but watch out for the “buggy brigade” (parents with pushchairs!) your feet will be swollen, but not from the incessant shopping… from having them continuously rolled over and stamped on! Even so, you are sure to find the perfect pair of shoes to match that expensive designer outfit you just spent your whole months wages on. On the other hand, if you are looking for something a little different then Kensington Market might be a good choice, it’s located on Kensington High Street, this market caters for the underground fashions. You can also find an extensive range of outrageous hair colours, punk and gothic clothing and accessories, record stores, the latest in techno, platform shoes, leather goods and jewellery.

Portobello Road Market features antique goods, as well as clothing and music, hundreds of stalls on weekends, and cafes and bars. It is also a “celeb hotspot” with many famous people living and shopping in the area.

Oxford Street & Regent Street are the main areas in which to find many High Street stores. All the main ones are here from Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, John Lewis, Boots, W.H. Smith, Bhs, C&A and of course Hamley’s Toy Shop, which I must add is absolutely breath taking, especially at Christmas, every child and “older child’s” dream come true. You may not find many low priced goods here, but it really is worth a look. So credit cards at the ready!

You will also find Harrods; most people make a visit to this shop just to look at the costly price tags, as well as the wide variety of food on offer. But be sure to dress respectively, no light coloured clothing caked in the muddy tyre marks from the “buggy brigade” in the markets!! There is a dress code to shop here!

And then there is Soho. Soho is the place to go for a variety of boutiques; Janet Fitch for designer jewellery, Metalmorphis for body piercings, and Ann Summers for kinky lingerie. Ambient Soho and Black Market Records stock the best of techno, jungle and dance music. Try the Vintage Magazine Shop for excellent movie & TV memorabilia and posters. Soho is the ideal place if you are looking for something to do “After Dark”; it offers a wide range of erotic videos, sex toys, good cafes and restaurants and strip clubs. Soho is an interesting place to wander around, especially for the men who like to “window shop”!!

Shopping in London can be an exciting experience, whether you want to spend or just browse. It’s a vibrant city – buying something often involves discovering interesting surroundings and exploring new ones. At the seasonal times of year it is probably best to start early, London streets begin to look like an anthill around lunchtime! I myself am a true Londoner… born and bred, everyday there is something new to be found.

Top 5 ‘Must Buy Something In’ Shops In London – (just for the feel good factor, oh, and the carrier bag!)

Hamleys Toy Shop

Wow! That is the only word that came out of our mouths when we walked through the doors of Hamley’s, I lost my two kids and my husband immediately! Unfortunately, they found me again when they wanted money! But if you are looking for a reminder of your childhood or looking for something special for your own kids then this is the shop, and it really isn’t that expensive either, you can pick up a gift for as little as a fiver. It really is magical, 7 floors of it, a definite must. Nearest tubes: Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus. Official website: http://www.hamleys.com

Covent Garden

If you are on a visit to London then try to visit the very trendy Covent Garden, with all the up-to-date designer shops like French Connection, H&M, Calvin Klein and Gap to name but a few. If you are shopaholic like myself then you will love Covent Garden, a fair few celebrities also shop and eat here. The Ivy restaurant is a well-known celebrity hotspot, if you can’t get in to enjoy the tasty food on offer then take a stroll past… 2 or 3 times… spot the celebrity! Nearest tube: Covent Garden

Harrods

A trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a visit to world-famous Harrods. Some just want to check out the expensive price tags, others buy stuff just for the carrier bag. Even so, you will find everything you need here, mind you, the store is huge and it is easy to get lost. And remember; if you need the loo… take some money with you! Nearest tube: Knightsbridge. Official website: http://www.harrods.com

Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street has loads on offer for yourself and a guilt gift for him (well, we have to buy him something don’t we? After all, it’s his credit card!). For him, there are sports shops like Puma, Ben Sherman, G-room and if he’s a budding DJ then there’s Kingly Court, this a great place to buy great vinyls. Oh, and not forgetting a place where he can re-fuel… there’s a few pubs too! And for the ladies, there is a number of fine cosmetics shops, a few boutiques selling vintage mod clothing, designer shoe shops and Liberty’s is just round the corner in Fouberts Place. There are places where we can re-fuel too… coffee shops and sandwich bars. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus

New Bond Street and Old Bond Street

Just off of Oxford Street, is the less crowded but far more expensive New Bond Street and Old Bond Street, for all those that have an endless flow of cash then this is the place to spend all of it! Most of the shops here have “greeters” who will smile, open doors for you, and wish you a nice day! Oh, and keep your eyes open for the odd celebrity here too, London’s Bond streets are well known for bringing out the odd one or two. Nearest tube: Bond Street

For Lovely Accommodations at a Low Price, Check Out London Hostels

If you want to visit a city that has been the hub of a nation for centuries, is filled with historic sites, and offers a wealth of arts, then you will want to go to London. One way to make a trip to London more affordable is to utilize the best hostels in London for your accommodations. A London hostel is often less expensive to stay at than a hotel, yet offers many of the same benefits.

Because London is such a large city, you will want to look at a map to determine what you want to visit, and then stay at a nearby hostel. London boasts several, so there are many from which to choose. You will have a choice from shared or private rooms at hostels in London. A shared room is one in which you will reserve a bed in a large, dormitory-style room that will hold many guests. Rooms are usually single sex accommodation.

Prices are very reasonable for shared and private rooms at London hostels. You might find shared rooms in a London hostel for as little as twelve US dollars a night, or a private room starting at forty-seven US dollars per night.

Amenities vary from London hostel to hostel, but just because you are paying reasonable rates for accommodations do not be surprised by how many nice amenities are often available. Many London hostels offer restaurants and bars, so you do not need to cook if you do not wish to, for example. Breakfast is often included in the price of your stay at hostels in London, making getting ready in the morning easier. Many have elevators and wheelchair access. Several also offer Internet and telephone availability, so you can always get in touch with your family and friends at home.

Safety is a concern for anyone traveling, and this is also true for those staying in a hostel. London vacationers will want to check that the London hostel accepts credit cards, so that you do not have to carry different currencies of cash, and that locked storage is available for your valuables. These are both normally offered at London hostels, but it pays to inquire before you make a reservation. Many hostels in London accept groups of people, so you may want to travel with a group of friends as well. Your arrival time may also be a consideration for safety when staying at a hostel – London travelers will want to check that their hostel offers a reception area that is open round the clock. Many do.

Once in London, you will be spending a great deal of time out visiting the sites, but it makes sense to stay at a hostel that values your comfort and patronage, and goes to great lengths to ensure that you have a pleasant stay.

Android Travel Apps for the London Olympics

For those of you planning to visit London for the Olympics, may be daunted by the number of travel facilities on offer. However, there are a number travel applications for your Android phone that will help you get around London easier.

London offer trains, buses and even bikes to the commuter, and London Transport has embraced IT fully, so up to the minute information can be viewed through the web browser. They also make this information accessible to 3rd party applications, which many Android developers have taken advantage of.

The Best Application for each method of transport is listed below

London Underground: Journey Pro

London has two types of train services National Rail (aka mainline, overground), covering all of UK, and the Underground, which covers just London. A large part of the infrastructure runs under ground, hence the name. It is also sometimes referred to as the Tube. For the Underground we recommend Journey Pro.

Journey Pro starts by displaying a scrollable tube/rail map in its main screen, covering all of London. By clicking on stations, you can then set the start or end points of your journey. You can then decide if you want to start your journey straight away, or at some point in the future. It then lists various journey options you can take, such as train and/or buses, together with the estimated times for each one. The routes that it offers can be a combination of trains, buses, trams, etc., so you can decide which one is best for you. What makes this application excel though, is that it shows you what platform and specific carriage to get on to for each train. Useful if you need to change lines during your journey.

National Rail: Rail Planner Live

Network Rail runs the overground lines, and created their own application called Rail Planner Live. It is a useful application if you want to travel outside of London as it covers all of the UK. Using this application you can find out your train routes and times, all times are live.

The developers designed this application for people who commute daily between two locations, e.g. between your hotel and Stratford station, the station is right next to the Olympic village. Once it knows this information, it is only a button click to find out the live departures times.

But the best feature we found about this application the widget. The widget allows you to view the status of the trains between two stations, typically the trains that would take to and from work. It shows what times the trains are departing, and what platform, if it is delayed, or on time. So finding out when the next train is departing is quick and easily accessible. What’s more, the widget can automatically use your geo-location to swap the departing and destination stations.

Buses: Bus Checker

Bus Checker taps into London Transports databases that holds information on where bus stops are, what bus routes are covered by the bus stop, and live information on when the bus will be arriving. The Olympics will be a busy time for the transport services, so having more than one way to get to the Village will be prudent.

Starting up Bus Checker will display a map of your current location, with the nearest bus stops around as icons. Clicking on a bus stop icon will display the live timetable for that stop. In addition, on the same screen, you can highlight a Bus number, and Bus Checker will display the route on a list or map, so you will know if you bus stops where you want.

Bicycles: Cycle Hire Widget

If you prefer a bit of exercise, and do not like the idea of getting on a crowded train or bus, then for short journeys a bike may be a pleasant option, through Barclays Cycle hire.

The cycle hire system works a bit different from normal hiring systems. Scattered across London are depots with a number of bikes locked into a stand. You a pay a fee, starting at 1 pound a day, to gain access to the bikes for 24 hours. You can then take a bike from one depot to another for your journey. If your journey is less than 30 minutes, then it is free, otherwise you credit card is charged..

Although this is very cost effective, there is a problem. Sometimes the depots are full, that is, there are no available stands for you to lock your bike into. So would be great, would be an application that told you if the depot had cycles available to use, and any slots free to return your bike.

Flights to London

London is one of the biggest democratic countries. Exotic architecture and diverse variety of culture and tradition are the major factors that contribute to the popularity of this country. The landscape of London is extremely beautiful with huge mountain ranges all around. Greenery adds to the beauty of the country. People love to explore the beaches in city. London is one of the ideal places for holiday.

British Airways flights to London are one of the best airlines. It lands at City Airport and Gatwick Heathrow Airport. These airports are located few kilometers away from the main central city. City Airport is approximately fifteen miles away from West End, which is one of the best places for shopping.

Different flights to London land at different airports. Hence, the traveling time varies accordingly. Trains are the most common mode of transport within city. Taxis and cabs are available at the airports. People can easily reach the main city within an hour, once the flights to London land. People prefer to reserve tickets for a museum after booking flights to city. British Museum is a historic place to visit. Hyde Park and Westminster Abbey are also beautiful places. People can purchase various souvenirs like Fortnum and Mason tea from London.

The detailed schedule of flights to this city can be seen over various websites. Air tickets can be booked online in advance. Special discounts can be availed while booking tickets for the flights to London. Return tickets to London can also be booked. Payment can be made online with the help of credit cards. All the flights to London provide a safe and comfortable journey. Flights are generally not delayed without some major reason. Food service in the flights to this city is excellent. Payment for the food can also be made in advance.

Credit Cards ‘Not The Best Way To Pay For Christmas’

In the run-up to Christmas, cash registers across the country will be ringing as millions of consumers head to the streets and on to the internet to find the perfect Christmas presents for their friends and family. With the added cost that Christmas brings, many people choose to put their spending on a credit card, but recent research has suggested this is not the best way to ensure you have the funds to cover the perfect Christmas.

According to research from the new money saving website Savebuckets, around four in ten (41 per cent) used credit to pay for Christmas in 2006. However, just 29 per cent of those who used credit to fund their festive few days had paid their credit card off in January, while one in five are still paying for their Christmas spending, more than ten months after the event itself. With certain ones attracting high interest on any long-term balances, cheap loans could be a better way of paying for the time.

Marc Ames, marketing manager of Savebuckets, said: “Many Britons have struggled to pay off their credit card spending from last Christmas. With rising costs of living and interest rate hikes curbing spending power this year, it is likely that many will have to make cutbacks this Christmas.” With a cheap loan, the debt hangover could possibly have been reduced.

The message to use personal loans to fund the cost of Christmas has been supported by Sainsbury’s Bank, suggesting that a personal loan is, in certain cases, a better method for using credit to buy presents than a credit card is. However, Steven Baillie, head of loans at Sainsbury’s Bank, stressed that the use of it for Christmas is dependent on the kind of festive purchases you will be making. “It really depends on what you’re buying for Christmas. If you’re buying that car for Christmas then I can understand it,” he said.

Mr Ballie also said that despite the current consumer debt crisis, personal loans are still a very viable form of lending for people considering credit: “There’s no doubt about it [that personal loans are a sensible way to borrow a large sum]. It comes back down to doing your homework, understanding that you’re getting the best rate, understanding all the clauses, the small print etcetera, so there are no hidden charges.”

The Savebuckets survey revealed that consumers from London are the most likely to borrow money at Christmas time, with 45 per cent falling into this bracket. Following London were East Anglia, Wales and Lancashire with 44 per cent borrowing to fund the festive spending. At 875 pounds per person, Lancashire was found to be the region with the highest spend at Christmas, followed by the Midlands (851 pounds) and the south (845 pounds).

Britannia earlier this year suggested that people were not planning for their Christmas spending ahead of time, which could lead to more people needing personal loans to finance their Christmas purchases. Almost one in four (37 per cent) said they would borrow money to cover the cost of Christmas.

In May this year, a survey by Thomas Charles revealed that more than a third of those over the age of 55 struggled to make their monthly repayments on personal loans and other borrowing. In younger age groups, the problem was also apparent – although not as prevalent – with 24 per cent of the 34 to 45 age group struggling to meet repayment demands. Director of the firm James Falla said that due to this “buy now, pay later” culture, it is “inevitable” that some groups would therefore run into financial difficulties.