A new survey claims that over half of people in a relationship don’t know about their partner’s loans, overdrafts or credit card borrowing.

In the worst cases, Experian says that some 6% admit to splitting up because of arguments about finances.

The findings also reveal that relationship breakdowns caused by financial worries are most common in the 25- to 34-year-old age group.

When it comes to how much couples earn, more than two-thirds of respondents know their partner’s annual salary, while only one in four are aware that their partner has received a work bonus.

On a more positive note, more than half of people know how much savings their other half has to their name.

Choice of career is not a big factor in picking a partner either, with only 26% finding their partner more attractive if they had a good career. This was more important for women, with 31% of females admitting a man who pays his bills on time as “much more attractive”, compared to only 19% of males.

With less than four weeks until Christmas, if you’re thinking of taking out a new credit card to help ease the festive financial burden, you’ll need to get your skates on.

We’re not advocating that you should go on a shopping binge and then worry about paying for it later, but if as for many families funds are tight this year, it makes sense to find a cost effective way to spread the cost over two to three months.

Balancing the household budget doesn’t get any easier with energy and food costs soaring while pay increases, if you’re lucky enough to get one, are barely keeping pace with inflation.

If your credit rating is in good shape then you may want to think about using a new credit card offering interest free credit on purchases to help you manage the Christmas expense.

If this is something you think will work for you then you need to get your card application completed in the next few days as it will be between 7 to 10 days before your account is opened and the plastic is in your hands ready to use.

The question is which credit card to sign up for? There are dozens of cards offering interest free purchases, some in the case of Halifax for as long as 20 months.

In reality the last thing you want to be doing is still paying off your Christmas borrowing come summer 2015, but choosing a card that gives you something back for your short term spending may be worth a look.

The Tesco Clubcard offers 19 months at zero per cent on purchases and Sainsbury’s Bank the same for 18 months, but both also offer reward points, so well worth considering if you do your weekly food shop in one of these supermarkets.

Other cards offering a combination of interest free purchases and rewards are M&S Bank (19 months), John Lewis Partnership Card (6 months) and Santander 123 (18 months) although the latter does come with a £24 annual fee.

If the thought of spreading the cost of Christmas doesn’t appeal to you, then it may be worth looking at a few ideas to try to keep your costs down this year.

One tried and tested money saving tip is to try and cut back on your food shopping during the first couple of weeks in December, by using up what you already have and only buying the absolute essentials.

Another way to keep the cost down is to agree with friends and relatives that you’re going to cut down on presents this year – either by imposing a limit on the amount you’ll spend or perhaps agreeing to only buy for the children.

Alternatively rather than spending money on presents, you could design and send your own practical vouchers where you offer to give up your time to baby sit, provide a taxi service, clean the car or even walk the dog. It will cost you nothing but your time and a little creativeness.

If you can’t afford it, don’t buy on the basis that you don’t want to lose face or are trying to keep up with the Jones’s.

Christmas is not about expensive presents, it’s a rare opportunity to relax and spend some quality time with your friends and family, so have a good time but don’t get into long term debt over it – it’s really not worth it.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is to take a closer look at the credit card market as it feels that it isn’t working in the best interests of all customers.

More than 30 million people in the UK have a credit card but the regulator is worried that products are too complicated and that there’s a lack of competition when it comes to card holders shopping around.

The FCA also said that it intended to investigate issues around unaffordable lending.

It wants to understand “whether particular groups of consumers are over-borrowing or under-repaying their credit card balances and the possible reasons for this, including whether credit cards are marketed in a way that works against the best interests of consumers”.

A spokesman for the FCA said: “The credit card market is well-established and hugely important for UK consumers, who hold around 70% of all credit cards in Europe. We want to make sure that the market works well for all consumers and that cardholders get a fair deal.”

According to a new report from Experian Cyber phishing emails and other forms of cyber-attack are becoming more prevalent as people rely more on the latest smartphones.

The real worry is that many consumers are vulnerable to internet criminals with 60% of smartphone users and almost half of tablet users admit to not having any malware protection installed on their devices.

This is much less of a problem on home PC’s with nine out of ten people using security or anti-virus software installed on their computer.

When asked why they haven’t installed protection software on their phone or tablet, 12% said it was because they thought they were automatically provided with protection, 8% said they thought fraud protection is too expensive, while a third said they weren’t aware that they needed it.

A spokesman for Experian, said: “This year has proved a tipping point for smartphones and tablets. The rapid rise in demand for online banking and retail combined with very little security on devices has created a massive opportunity for cyber criminals leaving many people and businesses extremely vulnerable.

“There are approximately five billion connected devices globally, serving a billion online bank accounts and contributing $13 trillion to global ecommerce sales and transactions. With so much at stake, the opportunities for fraudsters are countless and we need to do more to protect ourselves.”

A new report shows that an extra four million adults are interested in carrying out their banking online for the first time

Statistics released this week by the Payments Council found 70% of people who could use online banking to run their main account already do so, while a further one in ten would be interested in logging-on and accessing banking services online for the first time.

It found that the most common reason for people steering clear of online banking was concerns over security. Only 15% of non-users said they were “very confident” that online banking was safe and secure, while a quarter of people were worried about remembering pin numbers and passwords.

On the flip side, a fifth of those interviewed said they had no interest in using internet banking, while only 16% of those over 65 were interested in using online services.

A spokesman for the Payments Council said: “Checking a balance or sending a quick, secure payment online is something that many of us take for granted and yet millions are potentially missing out because they could do with a bit of extra help or reassurance to get them started.”

“If you haven’t tried internet banking but think you would like to, contact your bank or building society for more information on how to get started.”

A limit has been introduced; restricting the amount payday lenders can charge borrowers from January.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has stated that Interest rates will be capped at 0.8% of the amount borrowed per day and that no customers will have to pay back more than double the sum they borrowed.

In addition to these measures there will also be a £15 limit on default charges.

The Regulator pointed out that a person borrowing for 30 days, and repaying on time, would not pay more than £24 in fees and interest per £100 borrowed.

Martin Wheatley from the FCA said: “I am confident that the new rules strike the right balance for firms and consumers. If the price cap was any lower, then we risk not having a viable market, any higher and there would not be adequate protection for borrowers.

“For people who struggle to repay, we believe the new rules will put an end to spiralling payday debts. For most of the borrowers who do pay back their loans on time, the cap on fees and charges represents substantial protections.”

Two new long term low rate cards were launched this week from Lloyds Bank (Platinum) at 6.4% APR variable and The Co-operative Bank with 6.9% APR fixed for three years.

Andrew Hagger, personal finance analyst said: “If you’ve got a card in your wallet that charges a low standard interest rate, there’s less financial impact if you can’t repay your full statement balance.”

Hagger calculates that, if you have to carry over a balance of £1,000 to clear your Christmas spending then at 6.4% APR with Lloyds you can clear it in 3 months by paying £336.90 per month, including a total interest charge of just £10.70 whereas a card charging 18.9% APR would cost £31.67 and you’d need to pay back £343.89 per month.

With interest rates predicted to rise in the next year to 18 months experts feel the fixed rate option from Co-operative Bank gives cardholders the added peace of mind that their rate won’t budge until at least the end of 2017.

Hagger added: “ The Lloyds Bank card looks as if it has been strategically priced to top the low rate best buy table, just edging out MBNA at 6.6% APR and Sainsbury’s Bank and Co-op, both at 6.9% APR.”

“The crucial difference between the Lloyds Bank and MBNA card isn’t about the interest rate, but more around the added flexibility that the latter deal offers.”

“Where the MBNA card is unique is that you can transfer funds from the card to your bank account (via a Money Transfer) without a fee.”

“This enables customers to repay expensive personal loan and overdraft borrowing, both of which can charge APRs well into double figures.”

The cost of finance for customers with smaller deposits has hit a new high, according to a new report.

The research from Genworth  shows that the cost of mortgages between 75 and 95 per cent loan-to-value (LTV) is at a nine year high as banks charge first time buyers and those with a small equity stake a record £2,800 a year penalty to secure a home.

Someone with a deposit of 5 per cent is typically being charged an annual rate of 5.27 per cent, while lower risk borrowers with a healthy 35% stake are only paying around 2.46 per cent for a two year mortgage.

The report revealed that since last year almost 100 extra mortgages are now available to those with a 5% deposit, including more than 60 via the Help-to-Buy guarantee scheme.

A spokesman for Genworth said: “Aspiring homebuyers would suffer a huge blow without the options currently available through Help to Buy. There is a long-term need to support high LTV mortgage lending but there are far better solutions than creating a long term burden on the state to do so.”