Eight million Brits missed payments last year

This is according to research from moneysupermarket.com which showed that credit card bills were most likely to be ignored or forgotten, with almost four million Brits admitting to missing repayments last year. Londoners were the biggest offenders, with 11% saying they missed credit card payments, while only 2% of borrowers from Northern Ireland were guilty of doing the same.

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at moneysupermarket.com, said: "While it's encouraging to see the majority of consumers paying their bills on time, there is still a huge section of the UK population seriously damaging their credit profiles by missing payments. Avoiding paying a bill might not seem like a big deal, but the consequences can be far reaching for your credit rating and can have a knock-on effect when applying for a new card, mortgage or securing any kind of credit."

It's not just credit card bills payments that were neglected by Brits last year - council tax, electricity and mobile phone bills were also high up the list, with 1.5 million Brits failing to pay at least one of these over the past 12 months. Although the payments of most household bills is not recorded on a consumer's credit record, some are. For example, mobile phones and broadband do show on your file and your repayment history will also be recorded. Failing to keep up to date with payments will not only show on your file but could eventually lead to you defaulting on your agreement, which will be a black mark for any future credit.

Kevin Mountford continued: "Although many people know about the importance of repaying credit cards or loans, many don't realise that their mobile phone contract will also show up so it is important to keep up with these repayments. When applying for credit, banks want proof that you are a stable, responsible customer, so if you're the sort of person who forgets to pay on time, setting up a direct debit is an absolute must.

"If you are finding it difficult to meet your monthly obligations, then sit down and go through all your finances and see where you can make suitable savings. Switching to cheaper products and services, and more effective budgeting will help free up some vital cash which can be used to meet those monthly commitments."