AND they have lower rates of default than their spouses. Remember the old stereotypes of women being big-spending shopaholics? Statistics show that, on average, women manage their credit better than men, reflecting lower rates of default or indebtedness - but just not when they're single.
When people marry, their credit-risk status tends to improve, but it's the men who really get into trouble with debt defaults because of the type of the debt they tend to take on.
The figures also show that the number of cellphone contracts held by men exceeds that of women by a million.
Overall, men hold 51.9% of all consumer credit - and there are slightly more men active as consumers - with women accounting for 47.9%.
According to statistics from the Credit Bureau Association (CBA), analysing the levels of spend, credit and indebtedness between the genders, married women have the lowest credit risk, followed by married men.
Both married men and married women are better risks than their unmarried counterparts, and unmarried men are better risks than unmarried women.
However, while the overall percentage of women with impaired credit records is slightly higher (51% versus 48.5%), the number of male defaults is slightly higher (51.3% versus 48.2%), and the number of judgments against male credit customers is significantly higher. While 61.9% of judgments are racked up against men, women make up just 38.1%.
Jane Strydom, a credit data expert representing the CBA, says this is largely due to the types of credit men and women tend to take on, as well as creditors' appetite for the expensive process of chasing outstanding debt.
"While just 32.9% of asset-based finance is taken out by women, the figure for men is 66.9%. Also, when it comes to credit card accounts, the figures read 44% for women and 55.8% for men. It is the kind of high-ticket debt that is worth following up for creditors," says Strydom.
Three million men have asset-based finance compared with just 1.8million women.
On the other hand, debt racked up by clothing store accounts (women 63.1%, men 36.5%) and furniture retailer credit (women 55.4%, men 44.5%) tended to be lower in value and was less often responsible for judgments in the event of defaulting.
Men account for 56.4% of cellphone contracts and tend to use microlenders more (52.3%).
While the figures for asset-based finance might be significantly different, those for mortgage bonds are virtually identical. Strydom says this can be partly attributed to the recent trend of couples taking out bonds together, rather than under one partner's name. But 21% of men are in arrears on bonds compared with 19% of women.
The solution for men looking to improve their financial position is clearly to get married and learn a thing or two about managing their debt from their spouses. If you don't believe it, take a look at the results of a recent report from Barclays Wealth and Ledbury Research, which showed that women worldwide are now responsible for 80% of household purchasing decisions.
Henry van Deventer, head of business development at Acsis, says the results confirm that a man is no longer a financial plan to a woman or primary provider. Women are also proving to be better at investing, partly due to their differing approaches towards risk.
"Men and women have different priorities. While men look for financial security when planning their future, women seek financial wellbeing. Men will look for an opportunity to get rich and, by doing so, are likely to be more confident and make hastier decisions. Women, on the other hand, tend to see wealth as a source of security for their family and, as a result, will take fewer chances with their money," says Van Deventer.
He adds that, as a result of these different behaviour types, men are more likely to make frequent risky investments, hoping to get a good return, whereas women tend to invest less frequently, opt for less risky investments and are willing to wait for long-term returns.
He says this can be out of necessity, since women face greater financial challenges, tend to live longer and often earn less in their lifetime.
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