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Consumers in the United Kingdom are becoming "more mindful" about paying off credit card debt, APACS, a British payments association, says in a statement released this week. APACS says outstanding balances on credit cards in the UK have decreased about 4.5% since 2006, to approximately £55.6 billion from £58.2 billion. The association released the numbers to counter figures released earlier this month by a UK-based financial comparison Web site that painted a more-alarming picture about credit card balances. Moneysupermarket.com says if UK credit cardholders decided to spend up to their card limits, they could add £102 billion to the country's outstanding balances. Reports in recent months have suggested that British consumers, faced with a souring economy, are moving toward using cards to pay for more daily living expenses. The site warned about issuers giving debt-burdened consumers too many cards. "Some providers are acting responsibly by refusing applications due to a person's total credit limit on all their cards, but others are still assessing things as though that person doesn't have another card," Steve Willey, the Web site's head of credit cards, says in a statement. APACS, though, says consumers are spending far less than their credit limits. The group says that, while the average credit card limit stands at £5,129, consumers are, on average, using only £1,384.

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