One in five Britons have deliberately skipped a loan repayment in recent years because they cannot afford it, a study suggested today.

Credit reference agency Experian warns this problem, which will drag down people's ability to borrow in future, appears to be on the rise (if you want to improve your credit rating see our credit rating guide).

19% of people surveyed say they had missed a payment on purpose in the last six years because they didn't have the funds.

Missed payments will show up on a borrower's credit records for six years before the slate is wiped clean, making it tougher for them to take on more borrowing.

These payments were missed on various types of borrowing, including personal loans, overdrafts, credit cards and store cards.

The report shows 14% of those surveyed say they only ever make the minimum repayments, leading to them paying back a much higher amount due to interest.

Just making minimum repayments can also affect someone's ability to borrow more cash in some cases, as lenders may assume that the borrower is struggling to clear their debts.