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Credit card users get raw deal

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13/05/2008

More than 2.5 million credit card customers have been told they will be charged a fee, have their account closed or have their credit limit cut in the last 12 months, according to price comparison site uSwitch.

Research from the website found that an estimated 1.6 million credit card users have had their credit limit reduced while 1.3 million have either been hit with an annual fee or had their account closed down altogether.

One-in-four people affected were told this was because of poor credit ratings, with 16% being told it was because their account wasn’t being used regularly. More than three quarters of credit card users were not given a reason at all. However, 51% of those affected were using their card regularly and making at least minimum repayments, uSwitch said.

Simeon Linstead, head of personal finance at uSwitch, said: “We’re not against credit cards providers curbing consumers’ spending if their debts are genuinely getting out of hand. However, resorting to account closures, reducing credit limits and implementing annual or monthly fees without providing over 1 in 4 people with a reason for doing so is not good for consumer confidence or financial planning.

“Credit card companies who are taking action to close down or make changes to customers’ accounts must be completely open about how and why they have selected those customers.”

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