Mates’ rates

Millions of Brits have lent money to their friends, and they’re not getting all of it back.

You would do anything for your friends and family, including lending them money if it came down to it – especially when the alternatives like payday loans turn out too very expensive. But have you ever thought about how much that extra few quid here and there adds up? Do you ever expect to see it again? Or do you give your mates a “free” pass?

We dug into the numbers to find out just how much money people lend their mates, and whether or not they ever expect to get it back.

According to the analysis, Brits loaned £16.6 billion to friends and family last year, but over half of these people (55%) don’t think they will get all of their money back.

£16.6 billion

Lent by Brits to friends and family over the past year.

Key findings

  • £16.6 billion lent to friends and family last year
  • 24.5 million Brits have lent £10 or more at least once in the last year
  • On average, Brits lent their mates £320 each, which includes 620,000 people who lent more than £10,000

With only £7.5 billion already returned or expected back in full, this means generous Brits are at risk of losing £9.1 billion to “mates’ rates”. Already, one in 10 people who lent money have ruled out getting a single penny back – writing off £1.7 billion in the process.

A whopping 24.5 million Brits have lent more than £10 to someone at least once throughout the year, including 620,000 particularly charitable people who lent more than £10,000.

While millennials were almost twice as likely as baby boomers to have lent cash at least once last year (67% vs 34%), their older counterparts lent a much higher average of £1,489 compared to £300.

Interestingly, women appear to be more likely than men to help out a friend, with half (50%) doing so last year compared with 44% of men. Even the amount they lent was higher, with women handing out £715 compared to just £631 for men.

Percentage of males and females lending to family or friends

Gender Percentage
Women 50%
Men 44%

Amount of lending by males and females a year

Gender Money
Females £715
Males £631

Region: % of people who don’t receive all of the money they lend back

70 %Country

Across the UK, people from Scotland are the least likely to receive all of their money back (62%). This is followed by those in South-East England (60%) and the West Midlands (60%). Over half (54%) of East Anglians have already got all of their money back, making this the most successful region at recouping loans from your mates.

‘‘It’s great that so many selfless Brits are helping out friends and family, but it’s important to be realistic about the chances of being paid back. If you want to ensure you get the money back, here are three simple steps you can take to increase the chance of this happening:

  • Make sure the recipient is clear on the amount being lent and the date that you want to be repaid by, maybe confirm your understanding over email
  • Agreeing to be paid back in instalments will make it easier for the other person. They could even set up a direct debit to automate the process
  • Apps such as LendPal or Splitwise help keep track of personal lending and they can remind the other person so you don’t have to!

‘‘If you simply aren’t in a position to lend the amount needed, the person asking may have other people they can turn to or they could look at options such as an interest-free overdraft or a 0% credit card’’.

– Jon Ostler, UK CEO at


We calculated these figures using a survey of 2,000 British adults commissioned by and conducted by research provider OnePoll in June 2018.

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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