"IT" the crdit card rip off

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"IT" the crdit card rip off

Post by BASEL » Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:43 am

IT is probably Britain’s most expensive Visa card. A leading financial company is offering customers with a poor credit rating a cash card with an interest rate of 365%.

The card, which is preloaded with an agreed loan, typically charges customers an annual percentage rate (APR) of 183% if they borrow money over a period of 56 weeks.

If the loan is £300 over that period, the customer is expected to pay back £504.

However, if he or she borrows the same amount over 31 weeks, the APR can be as high as 365% and a customer can expect to repay £465.

The rate is 10 times that for the highest interest credit card obtainable from a high street bank, which has an APR of 35.9%.

The cash card is being offered by Provident Financial, one of the country’s biggest doorstep lenders. The Bradford-based company allows customers to borrow the maximum amount of £300 on the card, which they must settle first before being allowed to borrow any more money on it.

Customers are expected to pay back in weekly instalments, which are collected from them at their front door by Provident’s agents.

Consumer experts said that the main reason why some customers would go to a doorstep lending company is because they have usually been rejected by all the leading banks for loans and credit cards, due to their having an extremely poor credit rating and no form of regular employment income.

Doorstep lending companies require only that their customers have an address where agents can go and collect payments and also have some form of disposable income, even if it is benefits.

Provident was this weekend criticised by MPs and consumer groups for charging such high APRs to customers who are least likely to be able to afford it.

The National Consumer Council said: “These interest rates are eye-wateringly high. It’s unfair that poor people are made to pay more to borrow. This is set to get even tougher with the credit crunch.�

Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, said: “In one sense one should welcome the fact that people are having access to finance, but not at these terms.

“These terms do seem extraordinarily extreme. People at the bottom end of the income scale should be accessing credit unions and not these types of high-interest credit.�

Provident defended its high interest rates by saying that it does not charge customers fines or late fees if they miss payments or take longer to pay back the loans than the period originally set out.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/b ... 689882.ece
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