• Germany edition
 
Nearly one in ten Germans cannot pay bills
Photo: DPA

Nearly one in ten Germans cannot pay bills

Published: 09 Nov 2012 07:08 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Nov 2012 07:08 GMT+01:00

An additional 190,000 Germans fell into serious debt over the last year, according to new figures released by credit reference agency Creditreform, bringing the total number to 6.6 million - nearly one in ten adults.

A person is considered heavily in debt if they are unable to settle their payments within the foreseeable future. For an estimated 3.8 million of the most serious cases there is little chance of them raising themselves out of debt at all, the agency said.

On average, adults falling into this category have personal debts of around €33,000.

The most indebted place in Germany is Bremerhaven in the north east, where nearly one in five adults is heavily in the red. Wuppertal is also badly affected, as are many areas in the Ruhr region.

The increase in debt is apparent across all sectors of society, Creditreform said. Not just what they described as the “fun-orientated” under-30s, but those on a low income and also pensioners are increasingly affected.

Perhaps most shocking of all for the traditionally austere Germans is the "considerable" increase in middle-class debt.

Unlike elsewhere in Europe, very little serious private German debt can be ascribed to mortgages - just two percent of those heavily in debt are struggling due to having bought flats or houses, the report said.

Creditreform spokesman Michael Bretz said some companies, especially car manufacturers, make it too easy for customers to obtain credit - often with nothing to pay for the first three months.

Many consumers increasingly do not think twice about buying goods on hire purchase online, said the agency, especially high cost hi-tech products.

Meanwhile, the proportion of customers who end up defaulting on credit are usually the "best kept secrets" of most businesses, said Bretz.

DPA/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

09:19 November 9, 2012 by lordkorner
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:47 November 9, 2012 by pepsionice
When I lived in Germany (for almost sixteen years)....I was getting a 'free' offer every month from one credit company or another....to borrow up to 10k Euro....at a fairly hefty rate (I think it was near 16 percent). The problem is that once you borrow the money, you tend to spend the money, and get yourself into further debt. I would imagine that even if they just got one person out of 500 to react to the free offer....they made a great profit off the deal.
13:40 November 9, 2012 by LancashireLad
OK. I'll bite.

angelfood, what kind of racist agenda are you putting forward here?

This article describes personal debt, therefore has (should have) nothing to do with the government bailing anybody out, wherever they come from.

You are complaining about the wrong thing in the wrong place.
18:16 November 9, 2012 by Enough
This is why I won't rent my house to Germans...too much risk and to hard to get them out if they don't pay.
Today's headlines
Merkel promises help for Liberia in Ebola fight
A man walks past an Ebola information mural in Monrovia, Liberia. Photo: DPA

Merkel promises help for Liberia in Ebola fight

Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised that Germany will send help to Liberia to tackle the Ebola crisis in response to a personal appeal by the country's president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. READ  

Cabinet clamps down on child image possession
Justice Minister Heiko Maas. Photo: DPA

Cabinet clamps down on child image possession

People caught in possession of indecent images of children will face tougher prison sentences, the government announced on Wednesday. READ  

The Local List
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again

Ten German words you'll never want to hear again

There are some German words which we'd rather were never invented. From the almost unpronounceable to the sheer pointless, The Local List has identified ten of the worst words in the German language. Do you agree? READ  

Investigators offer $30m reward for MH17 clues
Investigators at the MH17 crash site. Photo: DPA

Investigators offer $30m reward for MH17 clues

Anonymous backers have armed a German private detective with a $30-million war chest to find out who shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine. READ  

13,000 police will catch speeders on Thursday
This sight will be familiar to drivers on Thursday. Photo: DPA

13,000 police will catch speeders on Thursday

UPDATE: Drivers across Germany will be on the lookout for police holding radar guns on Thursday, as 13,000 officers take to the streets to crack down on speeding. READ  

Oktoberfest 2014
Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest traditions
Photo: DPA

Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest traditions

The world's biggest beer festival opens in Munich on Saturday. Running until October 5th, Oktoberfest is expected to attract more than six million visitors, drinking seven million litres of beer. Here's the first of The Local's four-part guide to the festival, starting with leathery traditions. READ  

Climber, 77, falls 80 metres to his death
The Alps near Innsbruck. Photo: DPA

Climber, 77, falls 80 metres to his death

A 77-year-old German climber fell 80 metres to his death in an Alpine ravine on Tuesday. READ  

State leader defends 'Russia Day'
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state premier Erwin Sellering is a big fan of Russia. Photo: DPA

State leader defends 'Russia Day'

The leader of a state in eastern Germany is not letting the worst crisis between Russia and Europe since the Cold War get in the way of his plans to celebrate "Russia Day", despite critical voices calling him a "Putin sympathizer". READ  

Champions League
Borussia Dortmund outgun Arsenal in opener
Dortmund players celebrate at the final whistle. Photo: DPA

Borussia Dortmund outgun Arsenal in opener

Italian striker Ciro Immobile scored his first goal for Borussia Dortmund as the German side produced a dominant performance to outclass Arsenal 2-0 in their Champions League opening group game in Dortmund on Tuesday. READ  

German Muslims protest against extremism
Muslim Coordination Council spokesman Ali Kizilkazya speaking in Berlin on Tuesday. Photo:DPA

German Muslims protest against extremism

The biggest Muslim faith organizations in Germany will hold a nationwide demonstration for tolerance and peace and against all types of extremism on Friday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Education
German universities tumble in global rankings
Photo: DPA
Tech
Netflix launches in Germany (in English too)
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
Photo: DPA
Politics
These men want to be the next mayor of Berlin
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
The three types of firms hiring foreigners
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Berlin spy station sees tourism boom
Photo: DPA/ESA
Tech
VIDEO: How one German astronaut sees Earth
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Frisky couple shock Berlin commuters
Photo: DPA
Politics
Are Germans right to want cooler relations with USA?
Photo: Bayernpartei/DPA
Politics
Why some Bavarians want a Scottish 'Yes'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
12 things to do in Berlin for less than a latte
Photo: Facebook
National
Bavarian waiter breaks beer-carrying record
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,325
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd