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6M Credit card holders had their limits increased last year says Citizens Advice

Friday, 17th November 2017

Increases in credit card limits are being given away too freely says the Citizens Advice after their research suggests 6 million people have had their credit limit increased in the last year, this without their consent – and a third of those who showed signs of struggling financially were given a rise.

On average, credit card holders were given rises of £1,481 without being asked, with 1 in 10 people (12%) receiving increases of £3,000 or more. This is despite 85% of people thinking that credit card companies should always ask permission before increasing someone’s limit.

Citizens Advice say the figures show that credit card companies are not only lending too freely, but putting individuals and the wider economy at risk if people are unable to pay down their debts.

Only 1 in 4 credit card holders actually asked for the rise

The research also showed in the last 12 months, 28% of credit card holders (8.4 million people) received a credit limit increase.

However, only 1 in 4 (23%) credit card holders who were given a rise actually asked for it with the remaining 3 in 4 limit raises were initiated by credit card companies.

New voluntary code of conduct

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has agreed with credit card providers that they will start asking new customers for their consent before raising limits, and give them the option to carry on receiving uninvited increases. Existing customers will be given the option to ask their lender to require their consent.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “It’s clear that credit card companies are contributing to the rise in consumer debt. Rather than credit card holders seeking to take on more debts, lenders are actively pushing it on people without enough consideration as to who can afford to pay and who can’t. Few consumers support unsolicited increases and our research shows that they make people’s debt problems worse.”

You can read the Citizens Advice full press release here

Mike Thomas, founder of DebtWizard.com, said: "Credit card holders that make only the minimum payments are highly profitable to the credit card providers so you sense any increase in the amount one can borrow on the card would increase their profits further. I would like to see the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) intervene and just ban any increase in the limits unless the request has come from a card holder and it is affordable."

You can hear more on Mike's comment on BBC Radio London - Drivetime with Eddie Nestor - listen




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