Australians Are Catching Toxic Debt-Lag From Credit Card-Fueled Plastic Holidays

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It’s called debt-lag and and almost half of all Australians this holiday season are at risk of catching it when they use their credit cards.

About one on three — that’s about 1.5 million people — suffer plastic toxic shock when they get home.

And some are still paying off what they spent, about $401 million on credit card interest, last year.

Many struggle to pay off their trip, with an estimated 180,000 people needing more than a year to clear their debt-lag.

And more than 38,000 travellers are worried that they’ll never be able to pay off their trip.

The forecast comes as 2.14 million Australians are expected to travel overseas during the peak summer holiday period.

Their biggest shock was from currency conversion fees, followed by ATM transaction fees and missing a bill payment while they were away.

The numbers are within a survey of 1,727 Australians conducted for by credit card comparison website by research house pureprofile.

Travellers who planned a budget came home with almost just as much credit card debt than those who didn’t.

For example, 7 per cent of budgeters returned home with more than $5,000 in credit card debt while 11 per cent of non-budgeters had the same level.

To avoid debt-lag:

  • Compare credit cards before leaving to find the best one to suit your needs
  • When comparing, look for credit cards with low or no international fees
  • Plan a budget and stick to it
  • If you return with credit card debt, consider transferring your balance to a no interest credit card
  • 39 credit cards currently available offer no interest for up to 12

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