Households repaid £3.8bn of consumer credit in March, the largest net repayment since Bank of England data records began.
The central bank’s money and credit statistics found that credit cards accounted for £2.4bn of net repayments, while other loans and advances made up £1.5bn.
Gross lending was £5.4bn weaker than February, while repayments were £1.3bn lower.
The weak net flows of consumer credit meant that the annual growth rate fell to 3.7 per cent in March, the lowest since June 2013.
Within this, the annual growth rate of credit card lending dropped to -0.3 per cent, the first negative annual growth since the series began. Meanwhile, the annual growth rate of other loans and advances decreased to 5.6 per cent.
Elsewhere, mortgage approvals for house purchases fell by 24 per cent to 56,200, its lowest level since 2013.
And approvals for remortgages dropped by 20 per cent to 42,600, the fewest since August 2016.
However, mortgage borrowing picked up a little in March, with a net rise of £4.8bn and the annual growth rate also increased to 3.6 per cent. Mortgage borrowing tends to lag approvals, so this strength is likely just reflecting that of previous months.
In January, the Bank of England revealed that mortgage approvals soared to the highest figure since February 2016, as buyers returned to the market following the December election .
In March businesses’ deposits increased by £34bn and their bank loans borrowing was up by £34.1bn, with both representing record rises.
The interest rate paid on businesses’ new borrowing dropped by 0.02 per cent, with small- and medium-sized enterprises seeing larger falls.