One in six people fail to pay bills

9 February 2011

One in six people failed to pay at least one bill last year, with around four million missing credit card payments - a mistake that can seriously damage your credit ratings.

According to a survey by, over eight million people missed regular monthly bills in 2010, putting their credit scores at risk. In addition, around 1.5 million people missed payments for either a electricity, council tax or mobile phone bill in the last 12 months.

Londoners were topping the list of being most likely to miss a payment with 11% forgetting to pay credit card bills, compared with just 2% in Northern Ireland.

By missing payments you're at risk from late payment fees or losing promotional discounts, which could see the end to low interest rates or 0% balance and purchase periods.

For more read: Why it pays not to ignore your mail

Although most utility bills will not change your credit score, those for mobile phone and broadband will and defaulting on these payments could eventually lead to a black mark for any future credit.

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at, says:

"There is a huge section of the UK population seriously damaging their credit profiles by missing payments and the consequences can be far reaching for your credit rating and have a knock-on effect when applying for a new card, mortgage or securing credit of any kind.

"Although many people know about the importance of repaying credit cards or loans, many don't realise that their mobile phone contract will also show up so it is important to keep up with these repayments," he adds.

If you're worried that you might have bad credit score because of a missed payment you can check your credit score online at Equifax, Experian and Callcredit. By law all credit agencies have to provide a one off copy of your credit record for £2.

If you struggle to pay your bills on time because money is tight, changing to cheaper products and services can help you free up more spare cash.

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