Credit Cards and Personal Loans Top Debt Types Among Thais: Survey

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 are at the top of the many types of debt that have hung over 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 from November 22 to 25 among 1,059 people across the country who were in debt during the Covid-19 situation.

When asked about the types of debt they had incurred, with each respondent allowed to choose more than one answer, 46.52% indicated credit cards and personal loans; 39.85% loans for property, including homes, condominiums and commercial buildings; 35.46% daily expenses; 30.79% loans for cars and motorcycles; and 15.73% of spending on 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 uncertain; and 13.69% said “no”.

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

When asked how they would solve their debt problems, 80.88% said they would be more disciplined and thrifty, and adjust their spending habits; 61.85% said the government should carry out debt restructuring in order to reduce interest payments on loans; 52.81% said the minimum wage and employment opportunities should be increased; 31.30% said people should be educated on 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% responded that they would help themselves; 46.33% cited families and relatives; 36.70% of banks; 22.97% savings cooperatives; and 11.25% from pawn shops.

About Judith J. George

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