Some credit card companies, including MBNA, Santander and Capital One are applying new minimum repayment rules to existing customers, which may mean that they will struggle with repayments.
New credit card rules
New rules governing credit cards say that monthly minimum payments for new accounts should always cover at least 1% of the outstanding balance plus any interest, fees and charges.
Although the new version of the Lending Code – the code of practice most card companies are signed up to – does not prevent companies from making increases for existing customers, Which? thinks this should only be done for new customers.
We were contacted by MBNA customers who have received letters saying their minimum payments will rise from 1 April. As they have balances of many thousands of pounds, they feel they’ll struggle to pay the new amounts. MBNA’s changes do not apply to borrowers who are already behind with payments.
An MBNA spokesman said: ‘For those customers who may feel the impact of this change, we have customer-service specialists to support them.’
We have heard that Santander and Capital One have increased minimum payments for existing customers too.
Actions to take if you’re struggling to make repayments
If you’re struggling with increased minimum payments, make sure you contact your credit card provider. Your card company has a duty to treat its customers fairly – if they don’t you should make a formal complaint and, if necessary, take the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
For more details on dealing with credit card problems, read the Which? guides How to deal with debt and Your rights when paying by credit card.
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If you need advice to help you choose the best credit card for your needs, read the free Which? guide to finding the best credit card.
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