Financial Regulator urges consumers to pay off debts

Irish consumers are being told by their regulator to put any money they will get from Special Savings Incentive Accounts (SSIAs), which will mature shortly, into paying off high interest debt.

“Reducing outstanding debts will give you peace of mind and will give you more flexibility,” said Mary O’Dea, consumer director at the Financial Regulator.

“Even if you have no difficulty repaying your loans now, think about whether this might be a good option for you.”

Warnings come as a survey for Allied Irish Banks found that a fifth of respondents planned to spend any money they had saved.

Others planned to reinvest savings but only eight per cent said they would pay off debt.

Yet with interest on debt typically outpacing any earned on savings, consumers were told they would be better off paying what they owe before taking on more debt.