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Vain Brits turn to credit to keep up appearances

Credit cards help adults spend on their image even though money is tight

  • 10% of  London men say Botox is essential purchase
  • Fake tan is vital for 22% of West Midlands males
  • Celebs influence 24% of women’s appearances
  • Kate Middleton is the most popular female celebrity icon (21%), with Cheryl Cole in second place (18%)
  • A third (35%) of adults are spending more than they can afford

Forty per cent of  Brits use their credit card to make themselves look good by buying beauty and grooming products, according to new research* from

When it comes to looking good, more than one in ten (11%) Brits regard fake tan as an essential expense.

Surprisingly, many men see image-enhancing purchases as something they can’t live without. For instance, 14% of men say waxing is an essential part of their grooming regime.

Across the regions, 10% of men surveyed from London say Botox treatment is a vital part of looking good. Meanwhile, 22% of men in the West Midlands believe a fake tan is a crucial part of sprucing themselves up - the highest of any region.  In Wales, 23% of men surveyed say eyebrow shaping is an essential part of their grooming regime.

From the findings it appears image is everything for adults - 60% have bought clothing using their credit card, the most popular credit card purchase, while 28% have bought jewellery.

When it comes to who influences their appearance, almost a fifth (18%) of adults say celebrities affect the way they choose their look.

But it is not just superstars that have a sway over people’s image. More than one in ten (12%) people say reality TV personalities from programmes such as Made in Chelsea or The Only Way is Essex influence their appearance.

Overall, Kate Middleton is the most popular celebrity icon for women - 21% of females say they would like to look like her. Cheryl Cole came in second place (18%), while Kate’s sister Pippa Middleton received 5% of the vote.

Who uses plastic more?

- Londoners are the biggest spenders on their credit cards – 10% spend up to £1000 each month.

- More people in the East Midlands make medium-sized purchases on their credit cards – 21% spend up to £500.

- People in the North West are most likely to make smaller purchases on their credit cards – 15% spend £10 or less each month.

- 44% of Londoners have been spending more than they can afford so far this year, compared to the national average of 35%.

- Women are more likely to spend on their credit cards because they haven’t got the cash at the time – 41% compared with 31% of men.

- Men are more likely to make bigger purchases on their credit cards – 9% spend up to £1000 each month on their credit card, compared with 5% of women.

- Men are marginally better at paying off their debts than women - 11% failed to pay anything off their credit card last month, compared with 14% of women.

Research conducted in May 2012 by OnePoll for

As well as using a credit card to obtain the perfect look, 28% of Brits polled spend on credit cards to treat themselves. Shockingly, more than one in ten (11%) believe spending on a credit card is easy money.

Nerys Lewis, head of credit cards at, said: “Our survey suggests many Brits are using their credit cards to power an aspirational lifestyle fuelled by celebrity culture.

“A third (35%) of adults say they are spending more than they can afford this year, and it seems many are turning to credit when they haven’t got the cash or just fancy indulging themselves.

“All this spending has got to come at a price, however. We would urge people to think carefully about what’s essential versus what’s desirable when it comes to using their cards for buying things such as fake tan.

“People should ensure they have a solid plan in place for paying back any debt, and if anyone is struggling, they can speak to a specialist debt advice organisation such as Citizens Advice.”


Media information press office:, 07973740037, 07788310289

Notes To Editors:

* Research conducted in May 2012 by OnePoll for with a survey base of 2000 respondents aged 18-37

About was the UK's first price comparison site for car insurance. is one of the UK’s biggest and most popular price comparison services. Launched in 2002, it generates over one million quotes per month. It has expanded its range of comparison products over the last couple of years to include home insurance, travel insurance, pet insurance, van insurance, motorbike insurance, breakdown cover and energy, as well as financial services products including credit cards, loans, mortgages and life insurance. is not a supplier, insurance company or broker. It provides an objective and unbiased comparison service. By using cutting-edge technology, it has developed a series of intelligent web-based solutions that evaluate a number of risk factors to help customers with their decision-making, subsequently finding them great deals on a wide-range of insurance products, financial services, utilities and more.’s service is based on the most up-to-date information provided by UK suppliers and industry regulators. is owned by the Admiral Group plc. Admiral listed on the London Stock Exchange in September 2004. is regulated by the FSA.

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