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Page last updated at 13:53 GMT, Saturday, 31 October 2009

Money Box: credit cards

The government is proposing a radical overhaul of credit card terms to make them fairer for the customer.

It is considering changing the order of priority for credit card repayments, so that the most expensive debts are paid off first; increasing the minimum amount that must be paid off each month; banning the practice of raising borrowers' credit limits without their consent; restricting or banning increases in interest rates on debts already incurred.

But tucked inside the consultation paper is a reference to the work of a psychologist, who has discovered that when we see the minimum payment on our credit card statement something strange happens.

Neil Stewart, professor of psychology at Warwick University, told Money Box reporter Ruth Alexander why a phenomenon called 'the anchoring effect' could be costing you money.

This item was first broadcast on Radio 4's Money Box on Saturday, 31 October 2009.

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