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Shoppers stop flashing the plastic

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According to a report from the British Bankers’ Association (BBA), credit card lending has decreased for the first time since 1993, falling by £1.6bn last year.

The reduction may in large part be due to credit card providers withdrawing special deals from the market throughout the course of the year.

Until 2006, many providers offered zero per cent balance transfers to new customers to tempt them to transfer their balances from rival card companies.

They retracted these offers throughout 2006 as increasing numbers of users defaulted on their credit card payments.

However, the BBA said that increasing numbers of homeowners withdrew equity from their properties instead – increasing the size of their mortgages and spending the money.

“Rising house prices mean there is equity available to be unlocked by homeowners,” said BBA director of statistics, David Dooks.

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