RBS research shows high reliance on credit cards

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RBS research shows high reliance on credit cards

New research for RBS and NatWest has shown we are a nation who rely on our credit cards more and more often to get us through short term cash gaps.

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08 August 2014

Over 82% of the participants surveyed suggest it is now unusual not to have credit card debt, with more than one third saying they use theirs once or twice a week. When asked what they used their credit cards for over 61% admitted to using credit cards to go shopping whilst 51% use them to pay for holidays.

But for the many people who own a credit card, it’s clarifying the small print on the policy that tends to go awry. Of those surveyed, a massive 57% said they were unsure of what their new rate would be at the end of their previous 0% balance transfer (BT) deal, with just under a third confessing to not knowing when their 0% deal actually ended.

Determined to make their money go further, 60% of credit card users have transferred an existing balance to another 0% BT card with 37% saying they thought 0% BT cards were good for those who were savvy with paying back debts. However, 37% said they did not pay off the full balance within the timeframe and almost a quarter of those asked said they didn’t know enough about 0% BT cards or thought they were quite risky .

Making a change

In February RBS CEO Ross McEwan announced that RBS will become a smaller, simpler and fairer UK focused bank that puts the needs of its customers at its core. As part of this strategy he announced that RBS will no longer offer teaser rates or 0% balance transfer deals on any of its products.

NatWest and RBS took all teaser rate credit cards off the shelf for new customers from Monday 17th March 2014 and launched a new Clear Rate Platinum Card, which has an upfront interest rate.   

Commenting on the research, Paul Riley, Head of Credit Cards for RBS and NatWest said: “The credit card market is dominated by 0% balance transfer cards. We know that the majority of customers who take these cards are taken by surprise when their rate rises dramatically and they are charged high rates for months. We’re just not going to do that any more; it doesn’t help people manage their money effectively.

We think the credit card industry needs to look again at this practice. We’re confident that they will move with us, as it’s the right thing to do.”

To find out more about our Clear Rate Platinum Credit Card visit www.rbs.co.uk/creditcards

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