Byline: NIALL MOONAN
IRISH shoppers are swamped with a d2billion debt owed on two million credit cards, new figures revealed yesterday.
It means every consumer in the country now owes an average of EUR500 to banks and other lenders.
And despite being one of the smallest countries in Europe, we are among the top three users of credit cards.
And here's the evidence of how we are becoming a nation of "buy now, pay later" consumers:
THERE were 2,028,000 credit cards held by more than a third of Irish consumers up to February last year
OUR total debt stands at EUR1.97billion whereas just 10 years ago it was EUR290million.
Market research group Mintel, which carried out the survey, found that well above the EU average number of cards are issued here. And even though bank interest rates are among the highest in Europe, Ireland comes third behind Britain and Luxembourg for credit cards held.
Report author Brendan Gallen said: "Card ownership is set to grow as consumers develop a relaxed attitude to credit debt.
"They are lured into taking on multiple cards by special introductory rates and feel more secure about their finances following recent growth and stability in the economy."
The report also found people's attitudes have changed towards debt and credit cards.
Mr Gallen added: "These factors make credit more acceptable and the idea of living in credit has risen to the fore."
And anyone who thinks the credit card market is …