• People in Britain have lent friends and family £16.8 billion in the last 12 months** but are still owed £4.71 billion in unpaid debts***

• More than a quarter (27 per cent) feel awkward asking for their money back

• Almost a quarter (24 per cent) say lending or borrowing money has led to an argument with friends or family

• PayPal offers a simple way of paying friends without sharing financial information

A year into the credit crunch, research from leading online payment provider PayPal has found that it’s not just the banks struggling to reclaim outstanding loans. Half of Britain’s 48 million adults say they have lent money to friends or family in the last 12 months, but nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of them are still waiting to be paid back, with many resigned to never seeing the money again. With the average cash still owed standing at a huge £823 per person****, PayPal expects many hard-up Brits to want help in getting this ‘friendship debt’ repaid.

Typically, we give loans to help a friend or family member with unpaid bills and rising food costs, perhaps a symptom of the current economic climate. While a large number of people (43 per cent) say the person they last lent money promised to pay it back ‘asap’, these promises aren’t always kept: more than four in 10 (45 per cent) say they feel awkward asking for their money back.

However, PayPal can help bashful Britons ask for their money back in a friendly way. With the ‘Send Money’ service, (www.paypal.co.uk/sendmoney) all people need is their friend’s email address or mobile number and they can transfer money owed straight away without needing to remember or ask for sort codes or account numbers*****. And PayPal’s new tongue in cheek ‘Give A Little Back’ email campaign provides people with a playful way to remind their friendship debtors that it’s time to return the cash.

Timely repayment of friendly debts can be important in saving friendships and keeping the peace in families. PayPal’s research found that unpaid loans to friends and family can have serious consequences, as almost a quarter (24 per cent) of people say that borrowing or lending money has resulted in an argument with a friend or family member. While most of these arguments are resolved, one in 12 (8 per cent) Britons say a rift still remains with a friend or member of their family.

The top five reasons people last lent a friend or family member money:

1) For payment of/towards a bill they couldn’t afford (e.g. phone, electricity) (14 per cent)
2) Grocery shopping (10 per cent)
3) To contribute toward a large purchase (e.g. house, car) (10 per cent)
4) For a night out (9 per cent)
5) Debt repayment / financial crisis (e.g. went over borrowing limits, lost job, couldn’t meet repayments) (8 per cent)

Mark Hodson, PayPal UK’s Marketing Director, comments: “It’s only natural that we’re happy to lend money to a friend in need. But when a debt is personal, bashful Britons find it very difficult to pluck up the courage to ask for it back. As our research shows, these friendship debts can be a lot more than small change, and there comes a time when we need our money back.

“If you’re lending money to friends or family, it’s worth agreeing up front when you’d like to get the cash back. This can save a lot of hassle and embarrassment further down the line.”

PayPal’s ‘Send Money’ service makes it safer and easier to transfer money via email or mobile phone. There are no fees for payments to friends and family that are funded via a bank account or PayPal balance. Any money transferred becomes available immediately.

Mark Hodson continues:
“To help reduce the awkwardness of asking your mates to repay you, we’ve created a tongue in cheek email that allows you to send a personalised reminder to those dragging their feet. The email provides simple and immediate way of getting people to repay money instantly via PayPal. There’s no need for anyone to remember, let alone share, their bank account details.”

- ENDS -

To find out more about PayPal and set up an account please visit: www.paypal.co.uk

To send money via PayPal please visit www.paypal.co.uk/sendmoney

For an example of the ‘Give A Little Back’ email please visit: www.paypal.co.uk/givealittleback

* Claims, amounts and statistics are calculated by extrapolating PayPal research with statistics provided by the Office of National Statistics (“ONS”). PayPal’s research was performed by Opinium Research, which carried out an online poll of 2,221 British adults between 31st August and 2nd of September 2008. The survey sample group and results published are extrapolated to be representative of the British population in accordance with the rules and formulas published by the British Polling Council.
** In our survey, 50 per cent of those polled said they have lent money to their friends and family in the last 12 months, which, when applied to ONS projected population data (http://www.statistics.gov.uk) can be extrapolated to mean 50 per cent of 48,315,000 (= 24,157,500). The average amount said to have been lent is £697. Therefore 24,157,500 x £697 = £16.8 billion.
*** In our survey 50 per cent of those polled said they have lent money to a friend or family member in the last 12 months, but of these 24 per cent claim to still be owed money by friends or family, which, when applied to ONS projected population data, can be extrapolated to mean 24 per cent of 24,157,500 (= 5,797,800). Based on our survey results the average amount owed per person for those that need to pay back £0 - £10,000 is £823. Therefore 5,797,800 x £823 = £4.71 billion.
**** Based on our survey results £823 is the average amount owed for those that owe between £0 - £10,000.
***** Subject to sending and receiving limits. Transaction fees may apply. Find out more at www.paypal.co.uk/sendmoney.

For further information please contact:
020 7566 9777
Helen Thomson / Laura Moss / Natalie Martin / Louise Bromley - Lansons Communications

PayPal’s ‘Give A Little Back’ Campaign

The ‘Give A Little Back’ digital advertising campaign was launched by PayPal in October 2008 to raise awareness of its person-to-person money transfer service, PayPal Send Money. The ‘Give A Little Back’ campaign uses viral emails to help take the awkwardness out of asking people for money back. The viral campaign takes a tongue in cheek twist on the idea that people that often expect ‘charity’ from friends. Users can upload their face into the template and input their own name, the name of the person who owes them money and the amount owed to create their own unique email postcard to send directly to the person that owes them money. The email highlights a simple and immediate way of repaying via PayPal using just an email address or a mobile phone. For information please visit the campaign microsite www.paypal.co.uk/givealittleback

PayPal Send Money

PayPal Send Money enables PayPal users to send money to friends and family, as well as to pay for goods and services, using a quick and safe process that removes the necessity for sharing bank details. Using a simple form on the PayPal website, registered users can enter their PayPal email address, the email or mobile number of the person they wish to pay, and the amount to send. If the recipient already has a PayPal account the funds will be transferred within minutes. Those who are yet to open a PayPal account simply log on and register for free to collect their money. This new system removes the need for anyone to give out bank or card details to make a payment, removes the delays often imposed by waiting for bank transfers and allows money to be transferred to anyone, anywhere in the world and in various currencies. Subject to sending and receiving limits. Transaction fees may apply. For more information please visit www.paypal.co.uk/sendmoney.

About PayPal

PayPal is a secure online account that stores your card and bank details, enabling you to pay online and by mobile phone quickly and safely. There’s no need to enter your sensitive financial information every time you shop, and you can be confident that it is never shared with the seller. PayPal is the safer, easier way to pay and get paid online. With 60 million active accounts* (149 million total accounts) in 190 markets and 17 currencies around the world, PayPal enables global ecommerce. PayPal is an eBay company.
Thousands of merchants accept PayPal today from their websites, including leading e-commerce sites such as Boots, BHS, Topshop, Goldsmiths, Ted Baker, New Look and eBay. PayPal also supports payments for Monarch Airways with a payment solution for flight bookings. With PayPal, merchants can sell their goods to the tens of millions of proven online shoppers that prefer PayPal** often seeing a reduction in shopping cart abandonment therefore increasing sales conversion.

PayPal Europe S.àr.l. et Cie S.C.A. is a Luxembourg-based limited liability partnership, which is regulated by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (‘CSSF') in Luxembourg. PayPal Inc is the ultimate parent of PayPal Europe S.àr.l. et Cie S.C.A. and is 100 per cent owned by eBay Inc. PayPal Inc was set up in the US in December 1998 and acquired by eBay Inc in 2002.
More information about the company can be found at www.paypal.co.uk or www.paypal.co.uk/press

* Active accounts are those that have had activity in the past 12 months.

** According to independent Forrester research, 23 per cent of European online shoppers prefer paying with PayPal.

Published on: 12:00AM on 5th December 2008