Articles - No tickets but at least Brits escape an Olympic debt


News this week that many Brits haven't got the tickets they wanted out of the Olympic lottery may have a silver lining says uSwitch.com.

 The average person was expected to be shelling out £1,250 on tickets[1] which could have left unwary credit card users still paying for their Olympic dreams 20 years later:

     
  •   Olympic debt: Brits putting £1,250 of tickets on a credit card and only making the minimum payments could still be paying for their Olympic dreams in 2032[2] - 20 years after the games are done and dusted
  •  
  •   Racking up debt: the most expensive ticket, which costs £2,012, could rack up nearly £500 of interest before the Olympics even take place[3]
  •  
  •   Inflating the cost: the average person was expected to be spending £1,250 on tickets - minimum payments on a credit card would more than double this to £2,961[2]
  •  
  •   Silver lining: disappointed Brits who have only been allocated a quarter of the tickets they wanted could be debt free 12 years sooner[4] as a result.

 The Olympic dream may have become a nightmare for the thousands of Brits whose gamble on tickets didn't pay off, but unwary credit card users may have escaped 20 years of debt warns uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service.

 Brits were expected to be spending an average of £1,250 on Olympic tickets[1], with many putting the cost on a credit card. But if they only make the minimum monthly payment, they could still be paying for their tickets long after the last medal has been awarded. In fact it could take over 20 years to clear their ‘Olympic debt' with the final payment coming in October 2032[2].

 To add insult to injury, interest added to the debt could see the cost of their tickets soar from £1,250 to £2,961 - more than double the original cost. Even by the time the opening ceremony kicks off, consumers could have racked up £323 of interest by paying for tickets on their credit card[2].

 However, if disappointed Brits are only allocated a quarter of the tickets they wanted, it would cost just £312[4]. Put on a credit card this debt would take 8 years to pay back with minimum payments and would have accrued £758 of interest by the time it was cleared. In fact, by the time the Olympics start, they will have only racked up £80 of interest[4] instead of the £323 that they could have racked up if they'd been allocated £1,250 worth of tickets instead[2].

 The most expensive ticket, to the closing ceremony, comes in at £2,012. If this is put onto a credit card, the ticket holder could rack up nearly £500 of interest before they even go to the event. And if this debt was only cleared through minimum payments, this ticket would end up costing a staggering £4,884 by the time it was paid for in 2032[3].

 With unsold tickets now expected to go on sale later this year, savvy consumers are being urged to look at making the most of a 0% on purchases credit card deal to spread the cost without racking up an Olympic amount of interest.

 Stefan Maryniak, personal finance expert at uSwitch.com, says: "Brits may be really disappointed if they haven't been allocated the tickets they applied for, but for those who are paying on a credit card there is a real silver lining here. Making minimum payments on a credit card each month could turn clearing the cost of your tickets into a 20 year marathon rather than a sprint. By using credit cards in this way, once all the medals have been won consumers will still be lumbered with debt.

 "For those who have been lucky enough to get the tickets they wanted, it's important they keep their head especially if they've used their credit card. If they can, they should pay the debt in full. The alternative is getting a new credit card which offers 0% interest on balance transfers - this could help them to pace themselves. The Barclaycard Platinum card currently offers the longest 0% balance transfer period at 20 months[4]. If you transfer £1,250 onto this card, you can clear the debt by making monthly payments of £62.50 which are interest free. This could save over £300 in interest compared to paying the typical RAPR of 19.1% on a credit card over the same period[5].

 "People should always look to clear credit card debt as quickly as possible instead of drawing out the payments over the long term. A sprint finish to clear your balance will help to ensure that you're celebrating next summer instead of being stuck with an Olympic hangover."

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