Time running out for rate tarts

06 May 2006
The days of lengthy zero per cent credit card deals could be numbered, according to experts from the finance industry.

Lenders are withdrawing the attractive deals in a bid to stop so-called "rate tarts", who take advantage of initial zero per cent rates on credit cards and swap from one to another on a regular basis.

The lenders first launched the deals to attract more customers but now their popularity is such that they are proving too expensive to justify. Many credit card companies are reducing the periods the cards remain interest free.

Andrew Hagger, head of news and press at Moneyfacts, said: "We are seeing a definite shift.

"There is definitely a general trend for deals to be shortened. Companies want to encourage cardholders to remain with them for longer than a few months."

He added that Barclaycard was now refusing the applications of over half (55 per cent) of its potential customers, "which shows how much they are tightening up".

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