Capital One under fire over credit card cheques

14 November 2006
The chief executive of Money Advice Scotland has branded Capital One bank as "reckless" after it sent customers unsolicited credit card cheques.

Yvonne Gallacher is concerned that the accompanying letter from Capital One contains "a real inducement to use the cheques and nothing about the fact that it will have to be paid back or how much it will cost".

Her anxieties mirror criticisms from consumer magazine Which?, which points out that Capital One did not disclose the rate of APR, or warn customers that interest on the amount spent on the cheque would begin to mount immediately, in contrast to the 56-day interest-free period on ordinary credit card usage.

The letter accompanying the cheque lists "Seven great ways to use your cheques" – an approach condemned by financial comparison site uSwitch, which is currently campaigning for credit card cheques to carry a 'health warning' alerting customers to alternative, cheaper forms of borrowing.

The uSwitch campaign, launched in summer 2006, also calls for a ban on unsolicited credit card cheques, particularly for customers who have made only minimum payments for the past three months who may not be borrowing responsibly.

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