CUTTING THE DEBT: Almost two thirds of Australians are relying on credit cards to pay for household bills.
CUTTING THE DEBT: Almost two thirds of Australians are relying on credit cards to pay for household bills. Lou O'Brien

More than 60% of Aussies rely on credit for household bills

ALMOST two thirds of Australians are relying on credit cards to pay for household bills.

Conducted by creditcardfinder.com.au, a survey of 1,022 Australians found men were more likely than women to pull out the plastic to pay for bills.

Bessie Hassan, Money Expert at creditcardfinder.com.au, says this comes as Australia's credit card debt swelled to $51.7 billion in March 2016, up from $50.9 billion in January according to figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia.

"While the majority (77%) have the means to pay off their credit card balance each month, that still leaves almost one in four Australians (23%) with credit card debt hanging over their heads with utility and insurance bills putting more pressure on debt-ridden families," she said.

"While some households prefer to pay for bills using credit card to earn rewards or frequent flyer points, for others it's the only way to keep their services connected.

"We know there are over four million people who are unable to pay for these bills and they are relying on credit cards to get them out of trouble. But it's a short term solution that can lead to long term pain.

"Everyday bills are not something you should be getting into debt for - if you are, you need to evaluate what other areas of your life you can cut back on."

Surprisingly, Baby Boomers (46%) were the most likely to pay for household bills with a credit card, followed by Generation X (34%).

Worryingly almost half (47%) of households in the lowest income bracket (under $50,000) pay for households bills on credit card.

"These bills can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars - especially those which only come in quarterly - and if unprepared, low income households could struggle under the weight of that debt for years to come."

Those in New South Wales (30%) were most likely pay for bills on credit, followed by Victoria (25%) and Queensland (22%).

"We urge Aussies to do an audit on their household bills - spend time comparing options and find ways to save money. A bit of effort can save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars in the long run," Ms Hassan said. "If you can't afford to pay your household bills, investigate whether you can go on a payment plan with your provider or get an extension rather than getting into more debt."