More than 45% of people in the UK are in non-traditional debt, research for the Debt Advisory Centre has revealed.
Some 22.8 million take out non-traditional finance, which includes doorstep loans, credit union loans and store cards.
Ian Williams, Debt Advisory Centre spokesman, said: “The problem with non-traditional borrowing is that the interest you pay for it is frequently a lot higher than it is on traditional loans and credit cards. And because people often borrow small amounts at a time, they don’t realise how fast these debts can mount up.
“It’s important customers making use of non-traditional credit seek help and advice quickly if they are having trouble paying it back within the agreed timeframe. If not, what started off as a small amount of borrowing could quickly become unmanageable.”
Store cards are used by one in eight, yet a third of active users are behind with payments.
Nearly a quarter of consumers pay for items bought online or from catalogues on credit, making this the most popular form of non-traditional borrowing.
More than one in 10 shoppers are paying retailers in weekly or monthly instalments for furniture, appliances or gadgets, yet 40% are one month behind on their payments.