Le Lézard
Subject: Economic News/Analysis

FICO UK Credit Card Market Report: May 2023

The latest FICO data on UK credit card trends reveals the continued see-saw picture of consumer credit card habits seen for the last 12 months.

More consumers missed at least one payment during May after the rise and fall of March and April. However, counteracting that negative picture, the percentage of consumers paying off their full balance also increased month-on-month.

With the Bank of Englandi reporting that May saw the highest level of household withdrawals from banks and building societies ? at £4.6 billion ? it appears that, where they're able, consumers are falling back on savings to deal with rising day-to-day costs. But credit cards are also underpinning spending with the average total credit card spend remaining higher than the same period in 2022 and 2021 and the use of credit cards for cash withdrawals increasing for the third month in a row.


FICO comment

The latest FICO data suggests considerable financial volatility among UK credit card holders, putting the onus on lenders to be particularly vigilant. While inflation remains stubbornly high, spend levels are expected to remain higher than previous years. With savings only bolstering finances for so long, credit card operators will need to closely monitor for any signs of financial stress.

The month-on-month decrease in spending on credit cards in May could reflect the record high withdrawals from bank and savings accounts reported by the Bank of England. However, with total balance payments rising by 6.02% in May, it could be that consumers prioritised paying off credit cards to ensure the spending channel remains open for future needs. Once savings deplete, there could be an uptick in credit card missed payments.

Previous concerns around increased spend alongside reduced percentage of payments to balance have been somewhat allayed during May, with lower spend and more accounts paying off more of their outstanding balance. However, the rising number of consumers relying on their credit card to withdraw cash, despite higher APRs for cash withdrawals, indicates significant financial stress could be rising for many people. Typically, it is customers struggling with affordability who tend to use their credit cards to take out cash. As the cost-of-living crisis continues, reliance on credit cards for cash withdrawals may increase further.

As the pressure on finances and increasing interest rates continue, lenders will need to look closely at how customers are managing their existing commitments and remain vigilant for signs that the volatile conditions are impacting affordability.

Key Trend Indicators ? UK Cards May 2023




Month Change



Average UK Credit Card Spend




Average Card Balance




Percentage of Payments to Balance




Accounts with One Missed Payment




Accounts with Two Missed Payments




Accounts with Three Missed Payments




Average Credit Limit




Average Overlimit Spend




Cash Sales / Total Sales




Source: FICO

These card performance figures are part of the data shared with subscribers of the FICO® Benchmark Reporting Service. The data sample comes from client reports generated by the FICO® TRIAD® Customer Manager solution in use by some 80% of UK card issuers.

About FICO

FICO (NYSE: FICO) powers decisions that help people and businesses around the world prosper. Founded in 1956, the company is a pioneer in the use of predictive analytics and data science to improve operational decisions. FICO holds more than 200 US and foreign patents on technologies that increase profitability, customer satisfaction and growth for businesses in financial services, insurance, telecommunications, health care, retail and many other industries. Using FICO solutions, businesses in nearly 120 countries do everything from protecting 2.6 billion payment cards from fraud, to improving financial inclusion, to increasing supply chain resiliency. The FICO® Score, used by 90% of top US lenders, is the standard measure of consumer credit risk in the US and other countries, improving risk management, credit access and transparency. Learn more at www.fico.com.

FICO and TRIAD are registered trademarks of Fair Isaac Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.


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