Pets Win Prizes as Recession Bites

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Virgin Money says Credit card spending on pets doubles in a year.

However, with less available disposable income, peoples' wallets are going to be stretched should they have to fork out for a trip to the vet. We'd urge pet owners to insure they are protected and have insurance.

Pet owners have doubled spending on their four-legged friends despite the recession putting pressure on household finances, analysis of Virgin Money Credit Card data shows.

Research into credit card data reveals that monthly spending on pets and pet food reached over £1 million in April 2009, a rise of over £350,000 from the same month last year (2008).

Spending data from the Virgin Money Credit Card shows total spending for 2008 stood at close to £10 million and so far this year is £1 million higher than the comparable period of 2008.

However Virgin Money warns that the ongoing squeeze on pay packets and household budgets could hit spending on pets and particularly on insurance and vets' bills.

The RSPCA* has warned that more than 11,586 pets were abandoned in 2008 - around 30-a-day - compared with 7,347 the previous year.

Grant Bather, spokesperson at Virgin Money, said: "Britain is a nation of animal lovers and spending on pets has raced away despite the effect of the recession on people's finances.

"There is plenty of evidence of people cutting back across the board but some things are immune and so far that appears to be pets.

"However, with less available disposable income, peoples' wallets are going to be stretched should they have to fork out for a trip to the vet. We'd urge pet owners to insure they are protected and have insurance."

Virgin Money** research shows close to a quarter of the UK population say they are not confident about their ability to pay for protection insurance including pet insurance.

Virgin Money Pet Insurance offers three levels of affordable cover, starting from £4 a month. For every other pet you insure, Virgin Money will reduce the cost of cover by 5%.

Virgin Money Pet Insurance offers three levels of affordable cover for cats or dogs starting from just £4 a month. And for pet purchases the Virgin credit card offers 0.0% per annum on card purchases for three months from the date of account opening and 16 months 0.0% per annum on balance transfers to new customers (plus a handling fee of 2.98%). The typical rate is 16.6% APR variable.

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Grant Bather
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