Credit card firms face questions over interest rates

26 October 2004
Credit card companies are to come under scrutiny as MPs meet today to question chief executives about the state of credit card lending.

The Treasury Select Committee will speak to Barclays, RBS, HSBC and MBNA in a bid to make credit card charges clearer.

Last week saw Capital One, Lloyds TSB and HBOS come under the Select Committee's spotlight.

The investigation comes in response to the rising levels of personal debt in the UK and the apparent failure of some banks to implement the government's recommendations on transparency and fairness.

The chief executives are also likely to face strong criticism over the amount some customers are able to borrow.

The government will probably want to focus on the need for greater clarity on charges and interest rates, with further discussions on "summary boxes" on customer account statements and credit agreements.

These boxes allow customers to easily compare charges between companies, thereby improving clarity and promoting fairness.

It is reported that MPs may also want to see an appropriate "health warning" displayed relating to the dangers of excessive debts.
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