No matter what type of credit card you have, you are entitled to certain rights as a consumer.
There are estimated to be more than 30 million credit card users in the UK, with upwards of 58 million credit cards between them, so naturally consumer rights are an extremely important issue. Consumer rights apply to all credit cards, whether they are interest free credit cards, 0% balance transfer cards or another type of card entirely. This article looks at some of your key rights as a credit card consumer.
The right to purchase protection
One of the longest standing rights associated with credit cards is the right to purchase protection. This is something that was enshrined in the 1974 Consumer Credit Act in order to protect consumers in the event that something out of their control goes wrong and prevents them from receiving a purchase they have made on their credit card. For instance, if they were to purchase something from a company that then went into administration, meaning that they didn’t receive that purchase, they would be able to claim the money back from their credit card company.
Also, if fraudulent purchases are made using your credit card, you will not be expected to cover the costs of those purchases, further protecting consumers when it comes to using their credit cards.
The right to repay
In 2010, a range of new credit card rights came into effect. Chief among these was something known as the right to repay. Essentially, this means that any purchases you make at a higher rate of interest are to be paid off before any purchases you might have made at a lower interest rate. The aim of this is to help minimise the amount of interest you have to pay on your credit cards, enabling you to pay off the outstanding balance faster than you may otherwise have done in the past.
For instance, if you take out a 0% balance transfer card and then transfer £600 over from an old card, this will be charged at 0% interest. If you then go out and spend £100 on regular purchases, however, this will be charged at the standard rate of interest. The recently introduced rules mean that the purchases made at the standard rate of interest would be paid off before the 0% balance transfer rate, so you pay less interest overall.
The right to reject increases
People who own credit cards also now have the right to reject increases in their interest rate. Now, if your credit card provider informs you that your interest rate will be rising, you will have 60 days to decide whether you are willing to accept this. If you aren’t, you will be able to close your account and pay off the outstanding balance at the old rate of interest. This is all about helping credit card customers get more control over their credit cards so they can get the best deals possible.
The right to control credit changes
The new rules introduced in 2010 also mean that people who have credit cards now have more control over increases in their credit limit. This does not mean they are able to raise the limit themselves, but it does mean that if a credit card company offers them an increase in their credit limit they are able to reject it. They can also ask for their credit limit to be lowered at any time and also to ask that their limit should never be raised. This is a measure that can be useful for people who want to use credit cards but, at the same time, want to limit the amount they borrow on them in order to better manage their money.
The right to compare cards
Consumers now also have the right to compare credit cards, and lenders are required to send yearly statements setting how much a particular credit card cost to use that year. This will include any charges associated with the credit card as well as how much the interest cost over the course of the year; this is information that consumers can use to work out whether they are getting a good deal or whether it might be a good idea for them to look elsewhere.
The right to information
Finally, consumers with credit cards have a right to information. This includes information about their rights, as well as other things such as the dangers of not paying back the money they owe on time. If you would like more information about anything to do with your credit card or the rights associated with it, your credit card provider should be able to provide this information for you.