14 June 2016, 01:00

Savvy over 50s reveal their tips for credit card spending

• Over 90% of over 50s use a credit card*
• A third say that credit cards have revolutionised the way they manage their money
• Saga customers spend almost £230m in 12 months on credit card**

People over 50 have embraced using a credit card more than most people would imagine and they are very savvy about when and how to use them according to new research by Saga Personal Finance. Over 90% of people over 50 say they have at least one card, with over a quarter saying they have three or more cards.

When it comes to using their card, people are switched on about the benefits credit cards give them; a fifth say that they only use their card for larger purchases to take advantage of the protection provided by the Consumer Credit Act and 6% say they only use their credit card to spend abroad, presumably taking advantage of the safety a credit card gives them over cash.

One in eight say they only use their credit card in an emergency, however people are much more likely to say this if they are in a lower socio economic group. Almost a quarter (23%) of those in the DE group say they only use their card in an emergency, compared with just 10% of those in the AB group.

Rather than using cards to pay for things they can’t afford, people over 50 are using cards as a way to manage their money and to make their money work harder for them. Half of over 50s say that having a credit card helps them manage their money better and a third go as far as to say that a card has revolutionised the way they manage their money.

Many (28%) use their card to avoid spending their savings, this rises to 32% amongst those living in Wales. Almost 90% of people over 50 appear to use their credit card as a way to manage their money as they pay their credit card off in full each month, although this is much more common amongst those with higher incomes with 92% paying off in full each month compared to just 75% of those in the lowest income bracket.

Perhaps because the majority pay off their balance each month, this age group are less likely to be tempted by balance transfer and 0% offers, which is perhaps why just 10% of over 50s say they switch their card regularly in order to get the best deal.

They are savvy in other ways though, 55% say they use a credit card to make the most of the interest free period between purchasing an item and the payment due date, showing that they delay using their income or savings to pay for goods, preferring to leave their own money earning interest in their account before paying off each month’s outgoings on the credit card.

Joanna Fowler, head of credit cards at Saga, commented: “People over 50 are really embracing credit cards as a way to help them manage their money, keeping their money earning interest in their bank account for longer and taking advantage of the protection credit cards give them when making larger purchases. As they are not regular switchers, the most important thing for them is to choose a card with a low standard APR and a track record of keeping this rate as low as possible.”

Many over 50s do advise caution when it comes to using a credit card, 13% believe that credit cards should only be used in an emergency, this rises to 59% among those who do not have a credit card and 84% of over 50s believe that it is too easy for young people to get into credit card debt these days.


Notes to editors
*Populus interviewed 8,650 people aged 50 and over online between 16th and 23rd May 2016. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For more information visit: www.populus.co.uk
**Based on Saga data in the 12 months to September 2015

About Saga Platinum Credit Card
The Saga Platinum Credit Card offers a representative APR of 11.9% (variable), 0% foreign transaction fees are applied to purchases worldwide, a 0% interest rate on cash withdrawals for up to 55 days, a 0% balance transfer rate and a 0% interest rate on purchases for the first 9 months**

**Introductory Rate charged for the first 9 months on purchases and Balance Transfers from the date the account is opened. At the end of this period the Introductory Rate reverts to the Standard Interest Rate applicable to the product at the time. A Balance Transfer Fee of 3% applies.



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