AmEx: OFT ruling not reason for balance transfer decision

19 June 2006
The decision by credit card provider American Express to stop offering balance transfers for new customers was "not directly linked" to the decision of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to cut default charges, according to the company.

Industry analysts predicted that credit card providers would look to recoup losses from having to slash these fees by adding charges or cutting out deals elsewhere and many observers have claimed this is the first example of such a move.

However, American Express claims that the two instances were not linked and that the plans to end balance transfer offers "was already in the pipeline…before the OFT ruling".

A spokesperson for the credit card company said: "We are focusing our efforts on attracting customers who primarily want to take advantage of our reward schemes such as Nectar loyalty points and MoneyBack and benefit from these on an ongoing basis."

Earlier this week, financial comparison site Uswitch said that this announcement could mean "the beginning of the end for the rate tart phenomenon".

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