Home News Ex-partners run up shared credit card debts

Ex-partners run up shared credit card debts

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Photo: Nigel Holland

Ex-partners rack up an average of £457 in debt on shared credit cards, according to figures released by uSwitch.

The figures paint a picture of the potential risks that come when couples open joint accounts or share credit cards and then split up.

The average £457 debt on joint a credit card takes 40% of consumers more than 6 months to clear. 11% of cases are more extreme, with it taking over half a decade to pay off the debts.

A range of financial products were examined and similar instances of ex-partners running up large debts were found. The average debt racked up in these instances were:

  • £463 in mortgage debt
  • £327 in shared online shopping account
  • £313 on joint current accounts.

Half of those surveyed believed the effects of shared products on their financial position had been significant, with 30% reporting that their credit score got worse.

The reason why these debts were able to be accumulated often comes down to a lack of financial oversight after a relationship ends. 68% of people who had shared a financial product with a partner reported that it was still open more than 5 years after separating.

Adding to this, 32% still shared a pin code with an ex and 19% said the joint credit card remained active after the end of the relationship.

Nigel Holland from Holland & Co Chartered Accountants said:

“In some cases the debts last longer than the relationship. The points to remember when couples split up are:

  • Close any shared accounts after a spilt up.
  • Change your pin number.
  • Read your credit card statement every month, especially after a split up.
  • Identify any charges which you have not authorised and contact both your former partner and the credit card company and resolved the problem.
  • Check your own credit report so that you can spot anything unusual on it.
  • Contact each of the three main credit agencies to remove any financial links between you and your ex.

It is better if any financial disputes are dealt with amicably where ever possible.”


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