• Germany's news in English
 

Nearly one in ten Germans cannot pay bills

Published: 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
Schumacher Jr lives up to his name
Schumacher Jr is too young to drink any of that champagne. Photo: DPA

Schumacher Jr lives up to his name

Mick Schumacher Jr did his famous father proud on his Formula Four debut on Saturday by claiming a trophy as the best rookie and finishing ninth, despite starting 19th. READ  

Deutsche Bank to sell Postbank
Deutsche Bank acquired Postbank in 2008. Photo: DPA

Deutsche Bank to sell Postbank

Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank announced late Friday it was seeking to sell its Postbank subsidiary as part of a revamp to improve profitability. READ  

Far left activists attack immigration office
Photo: DPA

Far left activists attack immigration office

Far-left extremists attacked an immigration office in Leipzig early on Friday morning. It was the second targeted attack on an official building in the city in recent months. READ  

Steinmeier: Armenia wasn't genocide
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo:DPA

Steinmeier: Armenia wasn't genocide

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier insisted on Friday that calling Armenian massacres genocide risks belittling the Holocaust, after President Joachim Gauck broke a taboo by using the word on Thursday. READ  

Schumacher Jr launches Formula race career
Mick Schumacher on test day earlier in April. Photo: DPA

Schumacher Jr launches Formula race career

Michael Schumacher's 16-year-old son starts his Formula Four career this weekend, under the pressure of living up to the famous family name of the seven-time Formula One world champion. READ  

Property of the week
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Mr Lodge

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

A highly sought-after location, great connection to public transport, and a very stylish interior – Does that sound good to you? Then you’ll love this week’s property! READ  

Germany's most polluted cities
The sun rises behind a coal-burning power station in Lower Saxony. Photo: DPA

Germany's most polluted cities

The Federal Environment Ministry has named the most polluted places around the country, with Stuttgart claiming the undesirable title of Germany's most polluted city. READ  

Göring's daughter fails in bid to win father's assets
Edda Göring photographed in 1942. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Göring's daughter fails in bid to win father's assets

The Bavarian government rejected on Thursday an attempt by Hermann Göring's daughter to win back her father's assets, which the government seized in 1948. READ  

Tugce accused admits to delivering fatal blow
Tugce Albayrak's death shocked Germany. Photo:DPA

Tugce accused admits to delivering fatal blow

When 22-year-old Tugce Albayrak was fatally beaten in a MacDonald's car park in November 2014, Germany was left in a state of shock. On the first day of her attacker's trial he admits to 'boxing her on the ear.' READ  

Prosecutors want info on spies' help to US
Gerhard Schindler, head of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency. Photo: DPA

Prosecutors want info on spies' help to US

Federal prosecutors have asked for access on files from the Bundestag (German parliament) inquiry into mass surveillance, after news that German spies helped the US eavesdrop on European leaders and businesses. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
German beer day: take the tour
Features
Off to Norway at 18 km/hour
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Gallery
The smileys Germans love to text
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
National
Expats face Monday deadline to register to vote for UK election
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
Germanwings co-pilot 'searched suicide info'
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
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

7,191
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd