Credit cards "squeezing" customers, claims study

22-04-2009

Credit cards
Credit card companies are adding to people's money worries by squeezing cash out of hard-up customers, and need to get into the "real world", according to a survey.

Which? Money has accused major credit card companies of a raft of "tricks" which hit their customers in their pockets over the past twelve months.

They found one third of providers had put up interest rates and other charges, reduced the number of days in which to pay, or slashed the number of days when payments could be made interest free.

Mint, NatWest and the Royal Bank of Scotland credit card holders had all seen interest rates go up by four per cent, eight times higher than the average rise.

UlsterBank was said to have increased its introductory balance transfer rate from 0 to 4.95 per cent, while Debenhams Mastercard's withdrawal fees doubled in the last year.

UlsterBank claim their balance transfer rate was four per cent rather than 4.95 per cent. The other providers are preparing responses.

Martyn Hocking, editor of Which? Money, said: "At a time when we're all feeling the pinch, it's hugely disappointing that credit card companies are choosing to put the squeeze on borrowers more than ever. With interest rates so low, it is time for credit card providers to enter the real world.

"They need to make credit cheaper and their charges more transparent and fair, rather than making it harder than ever for people to make ends meet and pay back their debts."

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