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FICO UK Credit Card Market Report: January 2024

March 25, 2024 at 5:10 AM EDT

Consumer spending and payments followed typical seasonal patterns for the start of the new year

LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mar. 25, 2024-- According to the FICO UK Credit Card Market Report for January 2024, consumer credit behaviour followed typical start-of-year patterns. Spending fell by 8.6% post-Christmas, while consumers increased their payments to balance by 2.7%. Credit card providers will, however, be encouraged by the first increase in payments to balance since July 2023.

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Average UK credit card spend dropped by 8.6% month-on-month in January 2024, equating to an average spend of £775, according to new figures from FICO. (Graphic: FICO)

Average UK credit card spend dropped by 8.6% month-on-month in January 2024, equating to an average spend of £775, according to new figures from FICO. (Graphic: FICO)


  • Average card spend dropped by 8.6% month-on-month, equating to an average spend of £775
  • Reflecting continued high prices, year-on-year spend in January was 2.4% higher than 2023
  • Increased payments to balance led to a 0.7% drop in average card balances, which now stands at £1,770
  • Fewer cardholders missed one card payment in January compared to December
  • There was an increase in the number of cardholders who missed two and three payments in January - 12.6% and 1.4% - respectively
  • The percentage of accounts using the cash limit decreased for the fourth month in a row after peaking in September

Key Trend Indicators – UK Cards January 2024





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




Percentage of Customers using Credit Cards to Take Out Cash




Source: FICO

FICO Comment

After increased activity in the lead-up to Christmas, there is usually a drop in spending at the start of the new year; 2024 has followed this trend. What credit card providers will now be looking at is how well card users will manage the increased debt incurred over the festive season and the FICO data suggests that consumers focused on paying off credit card balances in January.

Alongside an 8.6% drop in spending, there was a 2.7% increase in payments to balance compared to December, with 37.62% of balances being paid in the first month of the new year. This is the first increase in payments to balance since July 2023.

Historical FICO data shows that the percentage of payments to balance usually drops in February; it will therefore be interesting to see whether payments continue to trend back down to pre-COVID levels of around 30% in the coming months.

When it comes to missed payments, the percentage of customers missing one card payment was 1.2% lower month-on-month in January. However, this followed the significant 14.8% increase in December. Combined with seasonal spending, this meant that customers missing two payments rose significantly in January: 12.6% month-on-month. Customers missing three payments also rose, with a 1.4% month-on-month increase and 4.7% year-on-year.

The average balance on accounts with missed payments is another important trend lenders will want to track over the coming months and one which currently appears to be influenced by the continued high cost of living. The average balance of customers missing one payment increased by 2.9% month-on-month in January, to £2,235. This is 9.3% higher than the same period the previous year. The average balance of two missed payments in January was 1% lower month-on-month, but 8.4% higher than in 2023. And while there was a 0.3% drop in the average balance for customers missing three payments, there was an 8% increase year-on-year.

The other spending pattern lenders will want to monitor closely over the coming months is the percentage of customers using the cash limit on their cards. This decreased for the fourth month in a row after peaking in September.

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. For more information on these trends, contact FICO.

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 more than 100 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.

For further comment on the FICO UK Credit Card activity contact:
Wendy Harrison/Parm Heer
0208 977 9132

Source: FICO