Johannesburg - People banking at FNB spend about 20 percent more in December than the rest of the year, the bank said on Tuesday.
December minimum payments were mostly based on November balances that did not include holiday spending on things such as flights and accommodation, which were often brought on credit, said FNB credit card chief executive Johan Maree.
Minimum January credit payments were generally between 20 percent and 40 percent higher than the average for the balance of the year.
Maree said using credit cards created a false sense of security that a person's finances were in order and there was room for extra spending.
“Although much of December spending contributes to a good holiday, the reality of payments falling short in January due to December spending can put you on a financial back foot as you enter the new year,” he said.
In January, other expenses such school fees, uniforms, timeshare levies, annual subscription fees and increases on instalments had to be catered for.
Maree advised people to pay off as much as they could of their December accommodation and travelling costs throughout the year.
He said allocating a portion of the December bonus to existing debt, and to budget around the money left over would also prove beneficial.
He advised holiday-makers to buy groceries before going on holiday, as retailers marked products higher at this time of the year because of an influx of tourists.
“Inform your credit provider in time if you will not have the money to make your January instalments,” said Maree.
“Living within your means will generally allow you to keep your 'debt house' in check.
“Although you are bound to spend more while on holiday, remain realistic about what levels of debt you are able to service,” he said. - Sapa