OFT launches credit card pricing probe

28 June 2007
The pricing information credit card customers receive is to come under scrutiny as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) responds to a 'super-complaint' from consumer champions Which? with the launch of a probe.

Enabling customers to better compare credit cards by simplifying pricing structure will empower them and make switching easier, commented Mike Naylor, personal finance expert at uSwitch.com.

At present, almost six in ten customers told uSwitch.com they never compare credit cards, and the average customer stays loyal to their existing provider for six years.

Yet some of the deals providers offer can function as "money-making schemes" for providers if customers do not choose the right card for them, the switching site warned.

For example, while 13-month zero per cent balance transfer deals with a zero per cent deal on new purchases for three months could prove a superb offer for customers who understand how to use them, those who do not understand the arrangement could lose funds.

Meanwhile, almost three-quarters of people are in the dark about how charges are levied when they withdraw cash on their credit cards.

The UK payments agency Apacs also welcomed the investigation, reiterating its commitment to "transparency on how credit cards work".

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