Consumers in the UK are hiding up to ?1.3 billion of personal debt from friends and family according to research carried out by GoCompare.
The comparison website conducted a survey of 1,350 UK adult consumers in December and found that 10 per cent of those in debt had kept details of the debt hidden from friends and family for longer than a year.
GoCompare found that about 40 per cent of UK adult consumers have personal debt excluding mortgages of ?6,131 on average.
Including those hiding their debt, 29 per cent were concerned about the amount they owe, and 14 per cent did not know how they would be able to repay their outstanding debts.
Some confirmed that they would consider asking their family for assistance with the debt, or contact a debt charity for help. However, 13 per cent were considering taking out a consolidation loan, and 6 per cent were even considering using a payday loan in order to pay off their existing debts.
GoCompare advised that debt in itself is not necessarily a bad thing when managed correctly, but it should never be used to assist living above your means.
Consumer advocate at GoCompare, Georgie Frost, commented: ‘The fear of being judged or of people?s reactions to [a debtor?s] situation is understandable but the reality is that many of us have some form of personal debt that we are concerned about. The only way we can tackle this issue as a society is to drop the stiff upper lip mentality and talk about it, and most importantly reach out when we need help.’
She continued: ‘Before making any big decisions like considering high interest consolidation or payday loans, or if you are worried about your debt levels, talk to an organisation such as StepChange or The Money Charity who will be able to offer free advice and support.’