Credit card market growth slowing

22 June 2006
According to the recent Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, growth in the credit card market has slowed.

Credit card provider Barclaycard has apportioned the downturn to the fact that lenders have become more aware of 'rate tarting' and are attaching balance transfer fees to their zero per cent interest offers to prevent them losing money on such deals.

Ian Barber, a spokesperson for Barclaycard, said that rising bills for homeowners meant disposable income was lower and people were beginning to "tighten their belts".

"Household incomes are under that little bit more pressure," he said.

"Most banks are recording an increase in bad debt and are worried about indebtedness. The rate of growth [in the credit card market] wasn't sustainable in the long term."

Balance transfer fees will typically be around two or three per cent of the total balance being brought across onto the new card. Only eight providers still offer free balance transfers without charging a fee.

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