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Saturday, February 12

New Credit Card Charges 70% Interest

The Guardian

A new credit card aimed at millions of low-income families is to charge interest at up to 70% - the highest ever charged by a credit card company.

Marketed under the slogan: "Stay in control of your budgeting", the typical interest rate on the new Vanquis card will be 49.9%, but for some customers the company judge as high risk, it will be 69.5%. MPs and debt campaigners yesterday condemned the rate, which is 15 times the Bank of England base rate and triple the standard rate on other cards. The card also has an annual fee of £19.

Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk, who recently completed a Treasury select committee investigation into credit cards, called the rate "staggeringly high". He added: "People on a low income tempted by it need to be given a clear financial health warning." Debt on our Doorstep, an umbrella group that includes Oxfam, credit unions and Church Action on Poverty, said: "It's an absolute disgrace that Vanquis should even be suggesting people borrow money on a credit card at that rate."

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