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By Sarah Megginson

Freeloading friends: 1 in 4 Australians owed money by a mate

If you’re still waiting for a friend to pay your back, you’re not alone, according to new research by Finder.

This survey of 1,085 respondents revealed 1 in 4 Aussies (24%) – equivalent to 4.8 million people – are owed money by a friend.

The research shows gifts (6%), splitting a bill at a restaurant (6%), and event tickets (6%) are the most common debts that go unpaid.

Sharing a taxi/Uber (5%), travel expenses (4%), and even gambling (3%) are other common debts that go unpaid.

Friend Loan

We can be a nation of freeloaders

Data reveals that millions of Aussies have borrowed money from their friends with no intention of paying them back.

Not repaying money breaks trust and can put a strain on the relationship, but it could also cause financial problems for the friend left shouldering the debt.

Furthermore, it also found the majority of Aussies (62%) haven’t lent money to a friend, while just 14% say their friends always pay them back.

Meanwhile, men (43%) are more likely to be left out of pocket by their friends than women (33%).

How can you take back the money you've loaned?

Your first port of call should be to ask your friend to repay the debt.

It can be a bit uncomfortable bringing up the topic of money but if you don’t ask and then you’re resentful, that can be more damaging to the friendship long-term.

Then, don’t cover for them in the future.

You might have to re-set boundaries with some people and a clear conversation is the best place to start.


If the situation is really serious, and you’re owed a significant amount of money, you can consider further action.

You can send a letter of demand, clearly outlining how much you are owed and asking that it be repaid within a certain time frame, otherwise, legal action will be started.

If you receive no response you can lodge a claim with your state or territory’s tribunal for resolving matters like this.

Keep in mind that emergency funds are not intended to be drained by your mates – so exercise discretion when lending money, especially as the cost of living crisis puts more people under financial stress.

About Sarah Megginson Sarah Megginson is senior editor of home loans for Finder. She was previously managing editor of Australian Broker magazine, Your Investment Property magazine, and online home loan comparison site, Your Mortgage. Sarah has worked as a finance and property journalist for more than 15 years.
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