According to our latest survey, a third (33%) of people in debt have covered up how much they owe on loans, credit cards or overdrafts, with women (37%) being bigger culprits than men (29%).
Lying to loved ones
Although we should turn to family, friends and partners for support and advice, in reality, these are the people we often hide things from.
Almost a quarter (23%) of those in debt say they keep their money issues a secret from family members, while friends (18%) are also regularly kept in the dark.
But while partners are less likely to be lied to (15%), those who keep the truth from their partners also tend to tell the biggest lies, saying they owe an average of £8,687, when in reality the figure is more than twice this at £17,481.
Why do we lie?
So what’s the motivation behind the lies?
Two-fifths (41%) of those surveyed say they keep their debts hidden because they feel ashamed or guilty.
And one in 10 say they lie because they think their partner, family or friends would either be angry or wouldn’t approve.
Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySuperMarket, said: “It is worrying that so many people with debts are masking the real truth from those closest to them. This could cause further damage to relationships if and when the truth comes out.”
Tackle your debt
If you are in a lot of debt, there are a number of steps you can take to help regain control of your finances.
Kevin Mountford said: “The best way to cope is to tackle your debts head on, not to bury your head in the sand. And you need to be honest with those closest to you, as they are the people who can often provide help and support.”
Also ensure you’re paying the lowest rate of interest possible on your debt as this will help you to pay it off more quickly – even if you can only afford the minimum monthly repayment.
By shifting existing credit card debt on to a 0% balance transfer credit card,* for example, you could enjoy up to 36 months interest-free.
Bear in mind, you will have to pay a transfer fee and you must clear your balance before the 0% window ends to avoid starting to paying interest.
Alternatively, you could shift your debt on to a low APR credit card and take advantage of rates as low as 6.4% APR representative (variable). You often won’t have to pay a transfer fee with this option.
The best way to cope is to tackle your debts head on, not to bury your head in the sand
Just be aware you will need a good credit score to qualify for these deals. You can get a copy of your credit report here, and if you’re unsure whether you’ll be accepted for a credit card, click on the ‘Will you get this card?’ button on our credit card tables before applying.
This will tell you how likely you are to be accepted without leaving a mark on your credit file, which can happen if you apply for a card and are unsuccessful.
Kevin Mountford added: “Simple steps such as working out a realistic monthly budget and making spending cutbacks where possible can also make a big difference to your bank balance.
“There are also free debt charities such as Step Change or Citizen’s Advice who can offer additional help or advice.”
*Representative Example: If you spend £1,200 at a purchase interest rate of 18.9% p.a. (variable) your representative rate will be 18.9% APR (variable).
Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.