Nationwide: Credit card providers make £500m a year by 'not playing fair'

08 June 2006
The UK's largest building society, Nationwide, has criticised the credit card industry for the way it allocates debt repayments in order to make more money out of consumers.

The building society claims UK card companies make around £500 million of extra profit by drawing customers in with low rates before being selective about how they apply the rates to individual debts.

Stuart Bernau, executive director at Nationwide, says that by applying card repayments to the cheapest rates first, leaving the more expensive interest rate balances outstanding for longer, credit card providers are simply "not playing fair".

"Many credit card providers use low introductory rates to lure people into opening an account," Mr Bernau claimed.

"These offers can look very appealing, but when you scratch beneath the surface you discover that credit card holders often don’t receive the full benefit of these low rates."

Mr Bernau called on credit card companies to change their ways and apply repayments to the more expensive debts, such as extra borrowing on top of balance transfers or cash withdrawals.

As part of its successful series of TV commercials starring Mark Benton as "the pompous bank manager", Nationwide's next advertising venture will highlight the 'underhand dealings' of credit card providers.

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