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New credit card rules introduced by the FCA

Thursday, 1st March 2018

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today published new rules for the credit card market which it estimates the changes will save consumers between £310 million and £1.3 billion a year in lower interest charges.

Credit card firms have six months to get their act together

The new rules come into force on 1 March 2018, but firms have until 1 September 2018 to comply. The changes are made to more protection for credit card customers in persistent debt or at risk of financial difficulties.

The new rules are being introduced following a comprehensive study of the credit card market. The study analysed the accounts of 34 million credit card customers over a period of five years, and surveyed almost 40,000 consumers.

3m people pay £2.50 in interest on top of the £1 borrowed

Figures show that customers in persistent debt pay on average around £2.50 in interest and charges for every £1 that they repay of their borrowing. There are 3 million people with a total of total of 4 million accounts who are in persistent debt and firms have few incentives to help these customers because they are hugely profitable.

The new rules

Under these new rules firms will be required to take a series of escalating steps to help customers who are making low repayments over a long period, beginning when the customer has been in persistent debt over 18 months. After this time firms need to contact customers prompting them to change their repayment and informing them their card may ultimately be suspended if they do not change their repayment pattern.

Once a consumer has been in persistent debt for 36 months, their provider will have to offer them a way to repay their balance in a reasonable period. If they are unable to repay the firm must show the customer forbearance. This may include reducing, waiving or cancelling any interest, fees or charges. 

Customers to get more control over increases in their credit limit

Credit card firms have also agreed to give customers control over increases to their credit limit. Under the measures the credit card firms customers can opt-out from receiving automatic credit limit increases. Customers in persistent debt for 12 months will not be offered credit limit increases, this should result in around 1.4m accounts per year not receiving such offers.

Firms who do not comply with the new rules could be subject to action by the FCA.

You can read the full press release here

Need help and advice for credit card debt?

Help is at hand if that credit card debt is getting out of control with our five top tips.

What is best for you depends on your circumstances and the ability to pay so if the answer is not in this guide (see link below), don’t panic, speak to us as we may be able to find other debt solutions to help you best manage your debt. You will be surprised at how many there are and how they might just work for you.

Top 5 tips on reducing that credit card debt







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