Page last updated at 10:55 GMT, Friday, 12 December 2008

Mixed reaction to card deal

Barclaycard
The Barclaycard boss says consumers will welcome the move

There has been a mixed reaction to the deal struck between the government and credit card companies to offer consumers some breathing space.

The card companies have agreed to implement a range of measures from 1 January which will see them backing off from raising interest rates for customers they see as more risky.

The deal, struck after pressure from the government, pledges that customers will be given 30 days notice of any interest rate increase.

But it failed to tackle initial concerns that interest rates for borrowers were going up at a time when the Bank of England's Bank rate was dropping.

Here is some of the reaction to the deal:

STEPHEN SKLAROFF, FINANCE AND LEASING ASSOCIATION

The industry is committed to treating its customers well. We welcome these new "fair principles", which build on existing good practice and provide helpful additional protection for credit and store card customers, at a time when many may be experiencing financial difficulties.

ANTONY JENKINS, BARCLAYCARD

Prices won't be raised for 12 months, but perhaps the most important provision is the ability for the customer to close the account and keep their old price.

That's what consumers were telling government and ourselves that they were really concerned about. So this is good for customers.

DAVID KUO, FOOL.CO.UK

If you always pay off your credit card balances in full, then Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) are irrelevant. But if you don't, then you are probably paying more than you need to.

If you are unhappy with the interest rate you are paying then it can't hurt to ask for a better one. If you don't ask, how do you know you won't get it? The worst thing that can happen is that they say no.

SANDRA QUINN, UK PAYMENTS ASSOCIATION APACS

Credit cards offer great flexibility for borrowing in the short-term but can be expensive if you borrow over a longer period.

Although base rates have fallen sharply, because of the way credit card lending works, the risk of lending has not fallen and may have actually increased

These changes do not mean that your APR will always remain the same, which is why it is important to check that you have the right card for you.

Although base rates have fallen sharply, because of the way credit card lending works, the risk of lending has not fallen and may have actually increased.

GARETH THOMAS, CONSUMER MINISTER

I recognise that these changes will not be without financial pain for credit card companies, but it was vital that we nipped in the bud the bad practices that were causing real hardship for borrowers.

ALAN DUNCAN, SHADOW BUSINESS SECRETARY

Under Labour's watch, personal debt has risen to the highest levels ever recorded by any country in the world.

Gordon Brown should take a leaf out of our book and ban extortionate store card interest rates and force credit card companies to provide clear information to the public about the true cost of borrowing.

MALCOLM HURLSTON, CONSUMER CREDIT COUNSELLING SERVICE

More still needs be done.

It is essential that all credit card companies follow the example of the best and freeze charges, fines and interest on the debts of clients who are on a debt management plan.

JOANNA ELSON, MONEY ADVICE TRUST

We warmly welcome a new breathing space when credit card companies will suspend collections activity for 30 days - and if necessary longer - whilst people in debt work with free independent debt advisers to come up with a workable repayment plan.

The current economic climate means that more people than ever before will be needing help and support.



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