RBS responds to "credit card hangover" accusations

04 December 2007
The Royal Bank of Scotland has responded to a report in The Telegraph which states it has slashed the amount of time which credit card customers have to pay their bill if they intend to pay the balance off in full each month without incurring any interest.

The Telegraph reported new terms and conditions for RBS' credit card customers – including those of its subsidiaries Natwest and Mint –which will affect those customers who pay off the entire balance of their credit card each month. From January 1, RBS will allow people less time to pay off their balance before they are charged interest on it.

But a spokesperson for RBS told Fair Investment Company that the details revealed by the newspaper were misleading, and that "The change will affect a small number of customers; those who prefer to use their credit card like a charge card and pay off their balance in full each month by Direct Debit."

For some RBS customers, the time period will be reduced to a minimum of 15 days; each customer's payment date will remain the same, but the statement will arrive 10 days later than at present.

Nevertheless, the new terms and conditions are seen by some as yet another 'stealth' charge, implemented by credit card providers to increase their revenues, especially in light of the fact that thousands of customers have been claiming back unfair credit card charges, from which companies were making a considerable profit.

Some customers believe that the changes will affect them even if they do not pay by Direct Debit, and that they will incur a missed payment fee if they cannot pay in time. One such customer is 'Mr GJ', who expressed his fears to The Telegraph that customers who pay by cheque will have a "window of only three days" to pay their bill, but according to RBS this is not the case.

The RBS spokesperson continued: "Other lenders advise of the same flexibility within their own terms and conditions to make changes to payment periods. We have chosen to be specific about the minimum amount of days to improve clarity and transparency. Customers' current payment dates will remain the same. A Direct Debit is an automatic payment so customers are assured their payment will be made on time and will not incur any late payment fees.

"The change has been notified to all customers in revised terms and conditions, but those customers affected directly will receive further written notice. As always, customers are clearly reminded of their payment date on the front of each statement."

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