Consumers want easy credit

Dutch households borrowed more than 10 billion euro in 2002. Four years previously this amount was 9 billion euro. Since 1999 total granted consumer credit has fluctuated around 10 billion euro. In 2003, too, this is seemingly the case: in the first half of this year consumer borrowing amounted to 5 billion euro, about the same amount as in the first half of 2002.

Outstanding debt by type of credit, 30 June 1998 and 2003

Credit cards and overdrafts popular

Although the amount consumers borrow has not changed much in recent years, the way they borrow it has changed..

Since 1998 consumers have shifted to easier ways of borrowing. They use credit cards more often and are more likely to be overdrawn on their bank accounts. For larger amounts, revolving credit has become more popular than less flexible fixed-term loans.

Credit cards popular for holiday spending

Every year there is a clear peak in the use of credit cards. In July 2003 this peak was significantly higher at 280 million euro than five years previously. In July 1998, 120 million euro was borrowed via credit cards.

Credit granted on credit cards per month

Bank overdrafts total some 6 billion euro

Consumers were overdrawn for more in 2003 than five years ago. While overdrafts on Dutch current accounts totalled under 4 billion euro in August 1998, this had risen to 6 billion euro in the same month in 2003. This is the equivalent of 850 euro per household.

Overdrafts on current accounts

Consumers are less likely to be overdrawn in May when holiday allowances are paid. In the subsequent summer months, however, the overdrafts rise again.

Elma van Agtmaal-Wobma