Romain Rouillard / Photo credit: NIKOLAS KOKOVLIS / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP 07:00, September 27, 2023

According to a study by Panorabanques, unveiled exclusively on Europe 1, consumer credit rates have increased by 43% over one year. Faced with inflation that continues to strain their purchasing power, the French continue to use it, but borrow smaller sums, sometimes intended to make ends meet.

Once solicited to finance a real estate project or the purchase of a new vehicle, consumer credit now serves as a bulwark against inflation. This is in any case what reveals a study by Panorabanques, leader in the comparison of banks on the Internet, unveiled exclusively on Europe 1. If their rates have soared, +43% in one year, from 4.6 to 6.6%, the French continue to subscribe massively, sometimes for immediate needs.

According to the study, 57% of consumer credit is similar to so-called "cash" loans. In other words, they are used to finance expenses that are not allocated to a specific project (vehicle, real estate) but are indeed intended to make ends meet.

Amounts that are falling

For all these reasons, the amount of appropriations shows a downward trend. Individuals are reluctant to borrow too much because of soaring rates, and the expenses they have to insure are nothing like the amount of a house or a car. Thus, indicates the study of Panorabanques, 44% of French people using consumer credit borrow less than 6,000 euros and only 7% of them agree to credits greater than 20,000 euros.


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A situation that has all the trappings of a vicious circle. Inflation forces banks and credit organizations to borrow at a higher rate, which they will then pass on to the customer who will have to pay more to repay his credit. Customers who, still because of the rise in prices, are turning more and more to these credits, failing to compensate for the general increase in prices on their budget. Finally, it should be noted that credit organizations may be somewhat reluctant to grant a credit not allocated to a specific expense.

Alternatives exist

However, there are several alternatives to consumer credit. Individuals can turn to micro-credits of a few hundred euros, available immediately, or opt for a deferred debit bank card with which all monthly expenses appear at once at the end of the month. Basile Duval, spokesman for Panorabanques, also mentions the BNPL (buy now, pay letter) "which can solve a one-off cash need because of an unforeseen event, or facilitate a purchase".