• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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 tops Putin hot-line call queue
Call me maybe: The Berlin-Moscow hot-line has been busy. Photo: DPA

Merkel tops Putin hot-line call queue

"If there's somethin' strange in your neighbourhood; Who ya gonna call?" If you're Vladimir Putin, growing ever more isolated among his G8 peers, it's Angela Merkel, say the Kremlin hot-line stats. READ  

More Germans seek assisted dying abroad
A Belgian "suicide kit" including the commonly-used drug sodium pentothal. Photo: DPA

More Germans seek assisted dying abroad

A study revealed today that more people traveled to Switzerland to undergo assisted dying from Germany than from any other country in 2012. READ  

80,000 trainee jobs empty as Germans opt for uni
Photo: DPA

80,000 trainee jobs empty as Germans opt for uni

More young people are choosing university degrees over vocational training, leaving firms scrambling to find qualified new hires. READ  

Doctor arrested over medical test 'rape' photos
The Bamberg Clinic, where alleged abuse was reported. Photo: DPA

Doctor arrested over medical test 'rape' photos

Police in Bavaria have arrested a 48-year-old doctor for allegedly drugging and raping medical test volunteers, media reported Thursday. READ  

German of the Week
Nuts and bolts of being a piercing king
Rolf Buchholz, world's most pierced man. Photo: Caro von D Photografie

Nuts and bolts of being a piercing king

The world's most-pierced man, Rolf Buchholz, was just deported from Dubai, for fear of 'black magic', he says. But as shocking as many people find his body modifications, it is a genuine passion, our German of the Week explains. And who knows, he may just enchant you yet. READ  

Amazon 'should not endanger diversity'
State minister for culture and media Monika Grütters. Photo: DPA

Amazon 'should not endanger diversity'

A German minister on Wednesday threw her weight behind the authors battling US online retail giant Amazon over its alleged strong-arm negotiating tactics with publishers. READ  

Opposition calls for arms export debate
Photo: DPA

Opposition calls for arms export debate

Green Party leader Katrin Göring-Eckhardt is calling for a special session of parliament following Wednesday's announcement that Germany will break its rules and deliver weapons to an active conflict zone. READ  

Families find solace and help with seniors
Photo: DPA

Families find solace and help with seniors

When Verena Herz found out she was pregnant with twins, she had no idea what she was in for. Luckily, she was able to borrow a grandmother. The Local learns the advantages of welcoming a new grandparent into the family and why Omas and Opas say: "I tell everybody about it!" READ  

Merkel targets 'shadow banks' in Lindau speech
Chancellor Angela Merkel opens the 2014 Lindau meetings. Photo: DPA

Merkel targets 'shadow banks' in Lindau speech

Chancellor Angela Merkel has opened an economics conference in Lindau, Bavaria, with a call for more regulation of so-called shadow banks. READ  

Dying town centres seek the miracle cure
A senior couple walk down Delmenhorst's main pedestrian promenade, amid a string of empty shops. Photo: Tomas Urbina

Dying town centres seek the miracle cure

Home to two-thirds of Germany's population, many of its small cities and towns are struggling to revive their declining centres. The Local's Tomas Urbina reports from Delmenhorst in Lower Saxony, as it tries to dig its way out of the economic doldrums. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should.
Photo: DPA
Society
A German journalist shares the story of his US arrest in Ferguson
Photo: DPA
National
Berlin's senate puts the brakes on Über
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: DPA
Culture
How I deal with my German Hausmeister
Photo: Ingrid Eulenfan/flickr
Gallery
Nine German treats you'll want to eat right now (and one you won't)
Photo: DPA
Society
Who's getting German citizenship?
Photo: DPA
Culture
How World War I changed Germany forever
Photo: APA/DPA
Gallery
The 12 best words in Austrian German
Photo: DPA
Society
'Look at those German shanty towns!'
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
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

3,365
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd