On average, three in ten UK consumers fall into their overdraft each month
April 12th, 2024, Christien Pheby

On average, three in ten UK consumers fall into their overdraft each month

Banks often promote overdrafts as flexible “safety nets” for temporary financial difficulties such as unexpected bills. Detractors, such as the debt charity, StepChange, argue that overdrafts can trap people in a cycle where they become overly reliant on this “expensive” form of debt.  

But how many consumers actually use them? 

Looking at data from YouGov Finance – which aggregates transaction data from thousands of UK consumers – over the past year shows that, on average, three in ten Britons (30%) went overdrawn at some point during the month. 

February 2023 was the month where consumers were least likely to use these facilities (26%), while January 2024 was the month where they were most likely to do so (32%) – perhaps because of the expenses run up during the festive period. 

Data from YouGov Finance also allows us to see when exactly people went into overdraft in a particular month. During the last 12 months, people were most likely to become overdrawn on the eighth day of the month. Consumers entered their overdrafts earliest in February 2023 (when they went into the negative zone on the seventh day of the month), and latest in July 2023 (Day 9). Among those with overdrafts, 8% of overall spending occurred while overdrawn. 

In February 2024, the total value of UK overdrafts was £2.7bn. This was also the average figure across the past 12 months. 

The value of overdrawn funds fluctuated heavily across the last year: in August 2023, it was at £3.2bn; in April, it was as low as £1.9bn. 

About YouGov Finance

YouGov Finance aggregates transactions from thousands of consumers in the UK and US, creating a rich, verified, connected dataset to unlock understanding of consumer spending habits and market trends with an unparalleled level of accuracy. Data was weighted by age, gender, and education.

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