Monday, February 9, 2009

If You Draw Cash on Your Credit Card You Will Be Out of Pocket

It is a well known fact that drawing money out on a credit card at an ATM is costly but the staggering truth is that around 750 million pounds is withdrawn in this way every single month in the UK. The rates that the card issuers charge seem to be ever increasing at a time when they are already being accused of profiting with their exorbitant charges.

It seems that the biggest percentage of people who are doing this are people usually on low incomes or those who are finding it impossible to borrow money from anywhere else.

Research by the price comparison website says that on average the APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for the ‘hole-in-the-wall’ clients has gone up by more than 2% in the last year from 21.27% to 23.48% and interest is charged from the moment the money is withdrawn from the machine.

Added to this, as if that was not enough, there is a one-off fee for every single transaction done in this way. This charge can be anywhere from around 2.5% up to as high as 3%.

So, just so that we know in pounds what that means, if a person were to withdraw, and in effect borrow, 100 pounds it means that they will pay 25 pounds and 98 pence, over a quarter of the amount borrowed, if they do not repay it within the year.

Some card providers charge substantially more than that, for example, the Abacus card from Vanquis charge 46.19% which is almost half of the amount borrowed which is extortionate. Also, where most other card providers charge an average of 15.9% on purchases, Vanquis charge an astonishing 39.9%.

Vanquis is owned by a company called Provident Financial, and they are very quick to point out that the Abacus card is suitable for people with either a bad credit history and past debt problems or no credit history whatsoever. Basically, they are higher risk which is why they have to pay higher rates for the privilege of being able to borrow.

However, the Office of Fair Trading insisted that providers of credit cards had to cut penalty charges for exceeding payment limit agreements or for late payments and because of this imposition by officials, in return, the banking industry has intimated that they may have to increase their charges.

Chief executive at, Sean Gardner said: “Borrowing cash on your credit card is incredibly expensive and unless it is really necessary we would urge people to think twice before doing it.

“The average APR was already expensive enough but card firms have pushed up rates by more than two per cent in the last six months. There are so many cheaper ways of borrowing than 23.48 per cent.”

A spokesman from the Consumer Action Group Marc Gander is very scathing about the lack of awareness by the borrowers and obvious transparency within the banking industry that these extortionate charges can be made and really are boosting the providers’ profits.

“There is no doubt that the whole business is built of stealth. The consumer does not really know what they are paying,” he says.

"The banks have relied on customers being apathetic and not being astute in financial matters to rip them off," said the Independent Banking Advisory Service’s spokesperson, Eddy Weatherill.

No comments:

Post a Comment