FICO’s report of May 2022 UK card trends suggests that whilst cost-of-living pressures are definitely starting to have an impact, cardholders are also taking a pragmatic approach to financial management. The monthly report based on the largest consortium of UK cards data shows that the percentage of payments compared to balance continues to follow an upward trend. Alongside the fact that average spend on credit cards has dipped by £7 compared to April, the data suggests consumers are being sensible with spend and payments.
- Average total sales at £753 – a £7 drop compared to April
- Average active balance almost static month-on-month – just 0.2 percent rise
- 6.1 percent increase in payments to balance, suggesting continued pragmatic management of credit card accounts
- Small month-on-month rise in average balance for accounts missing 1 and 2 payments is a potential warning sign for lenders
In contrast to some of the other consumer spending data, there are no sharp shocks in how UK consumers are using and managing their credit cards. While spend has dipped marginally month-on-month, there are clear signs that the importance of credit cards in handling daily finances is recognised in how repayments are being managed.
Much like the April data, the signs of the cost-of-living crisis are still limited. Lenders, however, will want to be alert to the early signs of financial distress. The FICO May data shows a 7.4 per cent increase in accounts missing one payment; lenders should track if this pattern — which was already evident in April — continues and the percentage of accounts missing two payments also rises.
Lenders can use segmentation analysis on their portfolios to ensure that their web and mobile applications encourage consumers in distress to make contact at the first indications of difficulty, and to consider establishing special payment plans for those struggling to stay on top.