Black Friday and the danger of overspending on credit cards


Love it or hate it, there’s now just three days to go until the hysteria of Black Friday begins.

The Black Friday sales have existed in the US since the 1940s and they traditionally fall after Thanksgiving weekend. The shopping phenomenon really started to make its mark in the UK in 2013, when Asda (owned by US giant Walmart) began offering Black Friday deals on a lot of their electronic goods like laptops and TVs, sparking mass excitement.

Since then the sensation has continued to grow and the sales have been well and truly embraced by the British public. And now that the offers span a week instead of a day, predictions are saying we’re set to spend over £7bn in 2017.1

A shift to mobile spending

During Black Friday week last year, mobile proved to be the most popular channel for buying goods, with 64% of purchases taking place on mobile devices, compared to just 48% in 2015.2

With spending on mobiles on the up, so is spending on credit cards. And with many retailers having apps that give the ability to pay for items at the touch of a button, it’s making shopping-on-the-go very hard to resist.

Staying calm & collected with credit

If like many you’re planning on using your credit card to fund your Black Friday purchases, it’s worth thinking about the effect this could have on your credit score.

By being careful and using your card responsibly you can have a positive impact. We recommend:

  • Paying your repayments on time each month
  • Keeping your balance around 25% of your credit limit
  • Paying more than the minimum payment off each month if you can

However, if you find yourself overspending and unable to keep up with payments it can really damage your score and this could mean it’s much harder to get credit in the future.

With this in mind, here are some steps to consider before the Black Friday offers start flooding in:

Make a list of what items you really need to get – If you go in knowing what you need, you’re less likely to be swayed by the other offers.

Set a budget and personal spending limit – have a think about what you can comfortably afford and then set a personal spending limit on your card. By doing so you’ll be much more in control of your spending.

Use the right type of card – Balance transfer cards shouldn’t be used for spending, as the 0% interest rate only applies to the balance you’ve moved from one card to the other. If you put anything on top of this the interest will be added at the usual interest rate. If there’s an item you know you can afford to repay, use a credit card and make use of an introductory 0% interest rate. Make a note of when the 0% rate ends and make sure you can pay the balance in full before the normal APR kicks in.

Leave your credit cards at home – If you’re just popping to the supermarket for some weekly supplies, avoid temptation and either withdraw the amount you want to spend or take your debit card. Then if there’s lots of offers on bigger items like TVs, you’re less likely to make a purchase on a whim.

Time to delete your shopping apps? – If you know you’re not in the position to be putting lots on your credit card during Black Friday week, why not delete your shopping apps from your phone. This’ll mean you’re less likely to get drawn into buying things you don’t need.

For more information and advice on avoiding the pitfalls of overspending on your credit card, visit our Help Hub.

1 According to IMRG research

2 According to data from ecommerce platform provider ChannelAdvisor