Barclaycard and HBOS cut card chargesMoves follows OFT criticism of high fees

02 August 2006

Barclaycard & HBOS yesterday cut penalty charges on their credit cards to £12 following pressure to slash charges.

But at the same time nearly 1 million Barclaycard holders are being hit with an interest rate rise of nearly 5 per cent.

Also, from this month, all Barclaycard customers who use their cards for cash advances will see interest charges leap from 21.9 per cent to 27.9 per cent.

Unfair charges

The Office of Fair Trading had given banks until the end of May to respond to its ruling that credit card default fees of more than GBP 12 were 'unfair'.

It estimated that banks and building societies were raking in more than GBP 300 million a year in unlawfully high credit card penalty fees.

Mike Naylor, Which? money expert, said: 'Earlier this year, the Office of Fair Trading said that anything above GBP 12 is likely to be unfair - but we still don't know whether the GBP 12 actually represents a fair charge and repeat our call to all providers to open their books to scrutiny and show the true costs involved.

'What's more, the OFT's announcement only applies to credit cards. Charges on current accounts, such as those applied when customers stray into overdraft, can be anything up to GBP 35. Which? hopes that banks and current account providers will take the same view on these charges and reduce them accordingly.'