Credit cards and personal loans are top types of debt among Thais: poll

Credit cards are one of the main types of debt for Thais, and debt levels have increased since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Credit cards and personal loans topped the many types of debt burdening Thais since their daily lives were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, or Suan Dusit Poll.

The survey was conducted online between November 22 and 25 among 1,059 people across the country who were in debt during the Covid-19 situation.

Asked about the types of debts they had incurred, each respondent being able to choose more than one answer, 46.52% indicated credit cards and personal loans; 39.85% loans for real estate, including homes, condominiums and commercial buildings; 35.46% daily expenses; 30.79% loans for cars and motorcycles; and 15.73% expenses for education and student loans.
varied as follows::

  • 48.18% owed less than 500,000 baht;
  • 22.85% owed 1,000,000 to 2,999,999 baht;
  • 15.26% owed more than 3 million baht;
  • 13.71% owed 500,000 to 999,999 baht.

When asked if they thought they could repay the debt, 71.11% said “yes”; 15.20% were unsure; and 13.69% answered “no”.

When asked how their behavior changed after going into debt – each respondent could give more than one answer – 60.23% said they followed a more careful spending plan; 55.04% said they did extra work to get extra income; 40.25% said they had sought information on debt management and interest reduction; 31.51% said they had turned to gambling; and 25.36% said they were looking to borrow from those around them.

When asked how they would solve their debt problems, 80.88% said they would be more disciplined and frugal, and change their spending habits; 61.85% said the government should carry out debt restructuring to reduce interest payments on loans; 52.81% said the minimum wage and job opportunities should be increased; 31.30% said people should be educated about debt management; and 23.31% said financial institutions should help debtors learn about financial planning.

When asked who they would turn to for help with their debt problems, 89.23% said they would help themselves; 46.33% cite families and relatives; 36.70% banks; 22.97% savings cooperatives; and 11.25% from pawnbrokers.

About Judith J. George

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