The use of credit in Italy is growing steadily, with more and more families planning their spending and paying gradually for expenses such as cars, furniture, holidays, registration in gyms and health care schemes. The Italians have been slow to take up the credit option and still lag far behind the Americans and other major European countries in the amounts of money they borrow. Private borrowing amounts to only 4 per cent of gross domestic product in Italy compared with seven per cent in France, 11 per cent in Germany and 16 per cent in the United Kingdom.

In the past debt was regarded as a disgrace in Italy, but young people and under 50-year-old parents, as well as the upper middle income groups, have changed that. Enrico Finzi, president of Astra-Demoskopia, a major Italian market research company, which has recently conducted a survey on the use of credit in Italy, claims that the numbers of people not repaying their debt is low indicating that credit spending is being wisely and prudently controlled, often by wives and mothers