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Credit card customers urged to switch provider

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Millions of credit card customers are paying more than they need in interest because they fail to move provider.

Research shows nearly half of all UK credit card holders – around 17 million people – have never switched their card.

Many credit cards offer an introductory 0% APR deal, which typically lasts for 18 months. When the deal ends, they are automatically rolled onto a far higher interest rate, which could be anywhere from 20% to 30%.

Credit card holders must meet their minimum payment requirements each month to avoid going into default.

But according to the research by Compare the Market, over a third don’t pay off the full balance monthly, meaning they are more likely to pay more on their debt in interest, taking them longer to pay off the outstanding, if and when they roll off a 0% APR.

When asked why they hadn’t switched credit card provider, nearly one in five said they couldn’t be bothered.

However, over one in ten haven’t switched as they’re concerned they won’t get accepted by another provider.

By contrast, the top three reasons why people choose to switch credit card providers are that their 0% interest period was coming to an end, to get cash back or rewards, or to get a longer balance transfer period.

John Crossley, director of money at Compare the Market said: “The UK has woken up to the money saving benefits of switching energy tariff and insurance, so it’s surprising that more people aren’t doing the same when it comes to their credit card – particularly when the cost of rolling onto a default APR is so high.

“Reviewing your provider when your 0% APR offer comes to an end is a healthy way of staying on top of your finances and you can also take advantage of the different rewards which many cards now offer.

“Switching between providers is a relatively quick process but it is worth reviewing the different kind of credit cards available before making a decision. Take the time to use online tools which can help you check your credit score without damaging your credit rating and ensure you are on the best deal for your financial circumstances.”

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