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Credit cards are not just for shopping

5th January 2015 Print

If your wallet contains a credit card, you may only use it for doing the shopping or to help spread the cost of bigger purchases. However, the humble credit card is pressed into a variety of other uses that it was never designed for – as two in five (38%) people admit to finding other uses for the plastic in their wallet.

According to research conducted on behalf of mortgage and loan provider Ocean Finance, the two most common alternative uses for cards are as a small ruler and to scrape ice off their car windscreen (16%). Some of the more unusual answers included using their card as a makeshift screwdriver - which one in 16 (6%) have done - or even using one to cut a soft item like a cake. Thankfully, only one in 50 have done this, as it doesn’t sound the most hygienic use for a credit card.

Alternative bank or credit card uses - Percentage of those who have used it

As a small ruler 17%

To scrape ice off windscreen 16%

Clean or file nails 7%

As a screwdriver 6%

To clean a keyboard 5%

To open a door when locked out 4%

Let kids use as a toy 4%

Spread glue or grout 3%

Cutting soft items 2%

For a wobbly table or chair leg 1%

It seems that the younger generation may be craftier (or more desperate) than older Brits, as six in 10 (60%) 18 to 24-year-olds have used their card as something else; with one in six (17%) of these saying that they have used a card to clean or file their nails. In contrast, just a fifth (20%) of over-55s have used a credit or bank card for something other than its intended purpose. With the rise of lifehacks, it could be that the more technology-savvy generation may be likely to have more ideas about how to use their plastic in inventive ways, rather than just for shopping.

Ian Williams, spokesman for Ocean, says: “At moments of crisis we are a resourceful nation and the humble plastic card can fulfil a wide range of uses. Spreading the cost of spending may be the main use for credit cards, but some people use it for spreading grout too.”