Self-employed workers are the most dependent on credit and vulnerable to a problem debt cycle, according to Leeds-based StepChange Debt Charity.
Of the three main types of credit used by those seeking the charity's help, debt levels were far higher for the self-employed.
Researchers looked at client debt levels for 2012. They found the average credit card balance across all StepChange Debt Charity clients was £10,517 spread over 2.8 credit cards. By comparison, self-employed clients owed on average £17,237 across 3.6 credit cards.
Average overdraft balance for clients was £2,082; whereas self-employed clients owed an average of £3,615, and while an average client had a personal loan balance of £10,479, self-employed clients owned £13,266.