Consumers in Northern Ireland are sitting on credit card debts totalling just over £1 billion, new figures show.
According to the latest figures released by Credit Action, the level of plastic debt within the region has grown by a further 50 per cent over the past 12 months as borrowers struggle with the rising cost of living, as well as job losses and related economic uncertainty.
As such, the average household in Northern Ireland now has a credit card debt of £1,600, the Belfast Telegraph has reported, with observers expressing their concern at such levels.
Richard Ramsey, Ulster Bank senior economist, told the newspaper: "During the credit boom people were probably overly-optimistic about the future as they had no reason to think the good times would come to an end so soon.
"Credit cards became a vehicle for financing people’s lifestyles and standard of living – and that has come to a premature and abrupt end."
Earlier this month, the website Motley Fool urged Britons to prioritise their debts over other financial outgoings in order to get on top of their money issues.