Credit card 'panic' expected after Christmas splurge

Banks are preparing for a surge in customers with debt problems after the Christmas period, it has been reported.

Bill Watts, the manager of the Fairy Meadow branch of Bendigo Bank, noted that customers tend to panic during late January and February when bills start to arrive and debts begin to mount up.

"They realise they might have overspent … especially if other bills come in at the same time [such as] electricity, car payments [and] household insurance," he told the Illawarra Mercury.

"Credit cards normally have a much higher interest rate than personal or home equity loans, so they look at trying to reduce the interest rate," added Mr Watts, suggesting consumers may look to compare credit cards and switch as a means of reducing debt.

Meanwhile, IMB chief executive Robert Ryan said that people struggling with credit card repayments should quickly inform their financial institution about the problem so that help can be arranged.

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