Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

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.

A Finder 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.

Sarah Megginson, money expert at Finder, said we can be a nation of freeloaders.

"Our research 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 strain on the relationship, but it could also cause financial problems for the friend left shouldering the debt."

Finder's research found the majority of Aussies (62%) haven't lent money to a friend while just 14% say their friends always pay them back.

Megginson said there are steps Aussies can take to get back the money they'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."

Megginson said 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 in financial stress."

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

Has a friend failed/forgotten to pay you back in the past 12 months?
Yes, for a combined gift6%
Yes, after we split a bill eating out6%
Yes, for event tickets6%
Yes, for a shared Uber/taxi5%
Yes, for travel/holiday expenses (e.g. accommodation, flights)4%
Yes for a gambling expense3%
Yes, other8%
No, I haven't had to lend money or share a cost with a friend62%
No, my friends always pay me back14%
Source: Finder survey of 1,085 Australians, December 2022

Looking for ways to save? Here are 11 ways to save on household bills.

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our 1. Terms Of Service and 6. Finder Group Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Go to site