I owe you: talking about friendship debt

Mrs Moneypenny and Rob Skinner from PayPal talk friendship debt

Mrs Moneypenny and PayPal’s Rob Skinner talk about the money owed by friends

I teamed up today with Channel 4’s personal finance expert Mrs Moneypenny to talk about the awkwardness caused when friends don’t pay each other back. We chatted to radio stations across the UK – who found it struck a chord with listeners.

We were talking about PayPal’s survey which showed that Britons are owed an estimated £3.2 billion by family and friends at any one time. That’s £66 per person! It’s not just the cases when you actually hand over cash; these small loans also include the times when you buy a friend a meal, a coffee or takeaway.

A fifth of us would rather go short than ask for the money back. As Mrs Moneypenny put it, money is the last taboo. Many feel more comfortable talking about sex than money, especially when it comes to confronting a friend about a debt.

Help is at hand, in the form of technology. The survey showed that one person in seven is using their mobile to remind friends to repay them. That’s typically a text alert, but apps can be an even better reminder. I explained how you can use the PayPal app to prompt your pal to send you the money with just your mobile number or email address.

PS: Mrs Moneypenny has a new book out: Mrs Moneypenny’s Financial advice for independent women. One of her best tips today was to set aside an hour a week to sort out your finances. For example, when your car insurance comes up for renewal, get  quotes from other insurance companies to see if you can save some money.

Disclosure: I am PR director for PayPal, UK & Ireland

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