Halifax and Barclaycard reject insurance criticism

26 January 2005
Halifax and Barclaycard have rejected claims that their decision to withdraw free insurance policies that came with their cards will affect consumers.

Their comments come after Moneysupermarket.com claimed an increase in regulation has meant that fewer credit card companies are offering insurance perks.

The price comparison website listed Halifax, Sainsbury's Bank, Lloyds TSB and HSBC as amongst the companies withdrawing purchase protection cover while Barclaycard has also dropped all other insurance benefits.

"The withdrawal of these fringe benefits by some of the leading card providers is a disappointment and evidence of well-intentioned regulation having an adverse impact on consumer choice," said Stuart Glendinning, director of credit cards at Moneysupermarket.com.

But Halifax did not agree that the withdrawal of policies would be a problem for customers.

The bank told MyFinances.co.uk that the regulation changes did not prompt the withdrawal of things like its free travel accident cover.

However, the cost of providing an advice service for these policies, required by the new regime, did influence the bank's decisions to withdraw them.

But the company added that it was very unlikely that these changes would affect customers, as the services were "pretty much unused".

"Over the last five years the number of claims on these [insurance] policies can be counted on your fingers," a spokesperson told MyFinaces.co.uk.

Barclaycard added that its changes, while prompted by the insurance regulation changes, were designed to benefit its customers and not to save money.

The company said it carried out customer research ahead of altering the policies it offered.

Peter Crook, Barclaycard UK managing director, said of the changes: "We want to offer services which appeal to as many of our cardholders as possible and more importantly, which provide them with the right support and protection when it's needed the most."

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