Are you crippled by unpaid mate debt? Here's how to get your £££s back

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We're a generous bunch, but we need all the pennies we can get at Christmas time

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Do you have a mate who refuses to shout a round in the pub? Or know someone who is always looking for handouts in the week before payday? Well you're not alone.

According to new research by Barclays Pingit, Brits have racked up unpaid 'mate debt' of £2.3 billion, with a third of those owed too embarrassed to ask for their money back.

Although 71% of us have leant substantial sums of money to a mate, 11% of money grabbers have admitted to 'accidentally forgetting' to pay a mate back.

And by 'accidentally forgetting' we mean purposely not mentioning the debt in the hope the lender will forget all about it.

But with the average debt totalling £59, isn't it time we got it back and spent it on last minute Christmas presents!

According to the research 15% of mates have fallen out over unpaid debts, which means it's important to approach the subject carefully.

Here are some of our top tips to help you get what you're owed...

1. If you're lending a large amount agree a payback date before you hand over the cash and ask them to write it down.

2. Send a trusted friend your bank details so that they can electronically transfer the funds...lots of people don't carry cash.

3. If you're at a restaurant or bar ask them to pay for the portion of the bill that they owe you. This way they'll be in a situation where they have no excuse not to pay you back.

4. Be straight with them, don't skirt around the issue and don't take no for an answer. Not paying you back within three months could be seen as taking advantage of your friendship and generosity.

5. If a friend is going through hard times ask them to pay you back in manageable instalments. This way you'll get your money back and they won't feel under pressure.

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