In a win for our Sneaky Fees campaign, it’ll soon be easier for you to compare mortgage deals and fees.
Today we launch a new ‘tariff of mortgage charges’ with the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) which will introduce a standard format for how lenders communicate their fees.
This came about thanks to the supporter of more than 100,000 supporters who joined our call to end the confusion around the cost of mortgages. The Chancellor George Osborne last year asked Which? and the CML to work together to find ways that would make it easier for people to understand and compare the cost of different mortgages.
The result of this work is a new tariff, which includes two key improvements. These are: standard terminology for the fees lenders use; and a common format for how lenders list and describe their fees. Lenders representing 85% of the market have already committed to introducing this new tariff and we expect others to adopt it soon.
Our executive director Richard Lloyd said:
‘Thousands of people supported our call to end confusion around the cost of mortgages, so we’re pleased that our work with the CML has resulted in simplified fees and charges.’
CML director general Paul Smee said:
‘Lenders have successfully pulled together to put in place some sensible measures to help consumer understanding. We very much hope that the new tariff and standard terminology will make it demonstrably easier to understand and compare mortgage costs. Working jointly with Which? has been invaluable.’
We’ve submitted a joint report to the Chancellor outlining our work on the new tariff and we’ll continue to work with the CML to deliver even more improvements to the mortgage market on your behalf. Thanks to all of our supporters for helping make this happen.
We're calling on the financial regulator to take action on '0% balance transfer' credit card deals after discovering that only one in 20 people understands their true cost.
As part of our campaign we asked people how much a balance transfer would cost - only 4% of them got it right. Seven in 10 wrongly thought the transfer was free, even though we showed them the fee.
We also asked people to pick the cheapest credit card deal for someone making a balance transfer, but only a third picked the correct card.
Read more results from our '0% balance transfer' credit card research
We've shared this evidence with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requesting that balance transfer fees be included in its investigation into the credit card market. Ultimately, we want the FCA to take action, including the possibility of banning credit card firms from advertising deals as '0%' when there's a fee.
Our Executive Director Richard Lloyd said:
'Too many credit card deals appear to include sneaky fees designed to catch customers out. With millions now using credit cards to pay for essentials, it's vital that the Financial Conduct authority takes action to ensure consumers are well protected.'
If you too want the regulator to take action on balance transfer, sign our petition to Stop Sneaky Fees and Charges.
In good news for our Sneaky Fees and Charges campaign, Barclays has announced that it has simplified its mortgage fees.