Nearly one in three Kiwis who use a credit card look set to face a spending hangover in the New Year as they whack their Christmas and holiday expenses on the plastic.
Research from Credit Simple has revealed 29 per cent of credit card users don't plan to pay their card off in full by the due date.
Hazel Phillips, a spokeswoman for Credit Simple - an agency which provides free credit rating data, said Kiwis needed to be careful and only spend what they could afford.
"Christmas is a tough time to strike a balance between excitement and practicality.
"When spirits are high, we tend to throw our budget out the window and an attitude of 'she'll be right' can creep in."
But she warned that failing to pay a credit card bill on time could damage a person's credit score and prevent them from being able to borrow money in the future.
"It's a good idea to set a budget for your Christmas spending, which will help you avoid a New Year financial hangover that could wreak havoc on your credit score."
Research into the average late payment rate over the last two years found New Zealanders tend to start falling behind in paying off their credit cards in October.
By the time Christmas arrives they are already in the red and late payments tend to peak in the first quarter of the new year.
Reserve Bank figures show credit card spending peaked at $4.1 billion in December last year - the highest ever monthly billing level.
Those most likely to put their purchases on credit cards were the over 65s with 50 per cent using the plastic but 92 per cent also planned to pay it off.
Those least likely to pay it off were aged 25 to 34 with only 59 per cent of credit card users paying their full bill off in time.
One in seven said they did not know when they would pay it off or would still be paying for their purchases six months later.
Renters were also less likely than home-owners to pay off their credit card on time with 51 per cent doing so compared to 77 per cent of home-owners.
One in eight renters had no idea how long it would take them to pay off their card.
Parents with school age children living at home were also less likely to pay off their full bill in time compared to those with kids who have left home.
Ninety per cent of people whose children have left home said they would pay their bill straight away compared to 49 per cent of parents with school-aged children at home.
The research found 39 per cent of people put their Christmas and holiday spending on a credit card while 38 per cent use cash and 55 per cent use their eftpos card.
The survey was based on research by Perceptive Research in November 2017 which questioned 1000 people.