Nationwide demands store card transparency

22 March 2004
Nationwide has called "honesty boxes" to be compulsory on store cards.

Nationwide building society has called for information on interest rates and payments to be made more available on store cards.

The muddy waters of store cards came under scrutiny after the Office of Fair Trading unveiled a study last week.

It criticised some retailers' use of store cards, saying that the overall costs of such cards were often not clearly represented for customers signing up for them.

Nationwide, the UK's largest building society supports the findings.

Nationwide have had summary boxes on their credit card forms since October 2002, and now the executive director, Stuart Bernau, feels these should become compulsory on store card application forms.

"Nationwide has fought hard to encourage the credit card industry to become more transparent to its customers. We see no reason why the same standards of clarity shouldn't apply to store cards."

Mr Bernau hoped the OFT report would act as "a wake up call for consumers". With some store cards setting repayments at 30 per cent APR, it seems important that consumers have a point of reference when deciding.

The National Consumer Council spokeswoman, Claire Whyley, welcomed the OFT report. "Retailers and store card suppliers have been getting away with overcharging and failing to provide customers with clear information for far too long. It is high time they put their house in order."

The OFT investigation found only 23 per cent of store cards applicants were offered the chance to take the application form away with them. And three quarters of those that were not offered the chance were told that they were not allowed to remove the from.