Millions of people ignoring bills and statements

One in ten people in the UK ignore important bills and financial statements, according to new research by the Debt Advisory Centre.

It appears peop…

One in ten people in the UK ignore important bills and financial statements, according to new research by the Debt Advisory Centre.

It appears people's money situation has gotten so bad that burying their head in the sand has become routine as the bills continue to fall through the letterbox.

However, ignoring bills can have a negative impact on finances as not addressing them could lead to interest being incurred and people can easily fall into more debt as a result.

For example, the study found a quarter of people are putting bills on a pile to read later but this can naturally lead to them being forgotten about. Many companies have high rates of interest attributed to their cards so missing one payment can see people slip into credit card debt.

Some 59 per cent of respondents said they ignore the bills because they "have a good idea what they will contain", while 28 per cent do so because they "never contain good news".

Ian Williams of the Debt Advisory Centre said: "Our findings suggest that a lot of people are putting their finances at risk simply by not reading their bills and statements. Although many of us make payments automatically by Direct Debit, it's still worth checking every bill or statement you receive for anything unexpected."

Bank statements are the number one unopened financial mail in the UK, with nine per cent ignoring them. Utility bills are also being left on the doormat, which is a worry considering many people are currently in debt to their energy provider.

Independent price comparison service uSwitch recently revealed over five million households are now in debt to their energy provider, owing a combined total of around £637 million. This problem could soon get worse as energy companies are starting to increase their prices.

Credit card bills are being ignored by six per cent of people and letters about taxes and benefits are left unopened by a further five per cent.

As technology progresses an increasing number of companies are attempting to make the process paperless and people often find messages in their bills to encourage them to take up this service.

Banks and other organisations claim going paperless is an easier method of keeping track of finances, however the research found that 28 per cent of people actually find online statements easier to ignore than their physical counterparts, compared with just eight per cent who say they are harder to ignore.

Paying bills online is becoming more commonplace in the UK, however many people are still wary about trusting internet transactions and would rather pay their bills in person at a bank or Post Office.

Receiving online statements can be easy, but considering the amount of emails people receive on a daily basis they can easily be missed. It's important to keep on track of what bills need paying at certain times of the month in order to avoid falling into debt with companies.

Direct Debits can also cause problems should there not be enough money in the account, therefore people should ensure they have the finances to pay for upcoming payments.

By Amy White

Find out more about money management on the ClearDebt blog.

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