One in four Brits is owed money by a friend, survey shows

Most people find it awkward to ask their friends to return borrowed money, according to a survey. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA

A quarter of Brits are owed money by their friends, with the average debt being almost £100, a study suggests.

In a survey of 2,000 Brits by social payment app VibePay, which launches on Friday, nearly a quarter (23%) said they are owed money by at least one of their friends.

On average, people are owed £98. Social awkwardness is holding 46% of Brits from asking for their money back. And typically, they don’t ask for money they’re owed unless it’s over £15 for fear of appearing “cheap”.

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In a separate survey by TotallyMoney, earlier this year, Brits ranked having to remind someone to pay back money they owe uncomfortable as one of the most awkward situations. Nearly nine in 10 (87%) people said it makes them uncomfortable, placing it just behind actually asking to borrow money, and being owed money in the first place.

For those who do have the courage to confront friends, they’re forced, on average, to ask twice before successfully seeing the money returned.

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Nearly one in five (17%) Brits said they have even ended a friendship because they’re owed money, while a fifth have had rows with their friends over outstanding debts.

Men are much more likely to confront their friends over clawing back the money owed to them, with a quarter (24%) doing so compared with just 14% of women.

Luke Massie, Vibe Pay CEO, said: “As a nation, we find it excruciatingly uncomfortable reminding a friend they owe you money. Yet, this reluctance is not just leaving a big hole in our pockets, it’s also destroying friendships.”