How do you choose your credit cards? The Financial Conduct Authority is looking into the credit card market and is keen to hear your views. Here’s more from the FCA’s policy director Christopher Woolard…
Whether it is buying Christmas presents for loved ones or having to deal with an unexpected broken boiler, many of us turn to our credit card at this time of year.
Credit cards provide a useful service for many people, but we want to know if the market is working well for everyone and we want to hear from you.
It may surprise you that 70% of all credit cards in Europe are held by British consumers and that in total, the 30 million credit card consumers in the UK have an estimated £57 billion of outstanding credit card balances.
— FCA (@TheFCA) November 25, 2014
Crunching the numbers on credit cards
Credit cards provide a widely accepted and secure payment mechanism that can help smooth out peaks and troughs in our spending and earnings. They can also provide protection in case there are problems with something we’ve bought. However, we think there are areas we need to look at in more detail. The FCA has published a document outlining a market study into credit cards which we will carry out over the next year. You can read the details in our terms of reference. I am keen to hear your feedback on some questions, which you can leave in the comments below.
- Have you chosen a card because you wanted to get a zero per cent balance transfer? Or did you get your card as part of a packaged bank account? Did you think the card turned out to provide value for money? Do you switch and shop around to get the best card?
- What are your borrowing and repayment habits? Do you mainly make minimum payments? Have you ever been caught out by a credit card balance which was a lot more than you expected? Have you borrowed too much on a credit card? Are you confident in managing how you spend on your credit card?
- Have you ever encountered unexpected fees and charges? Are the terms and conditions clear – for example the day on which your payments are due or when special offers end?
There’s no doubt this market is important for most people. However, it’s time to put the spotlight on credit cards and find out if they are working well for all consumers.
Which? Conversation provides guest spots to external contributors. This post is from Christopher Woolard, director of policy, risk and research at the Financial Conduct Authority. All opinions expressed here are Christopher’s own, not necessarily those of Which?.