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Barclaycard to waive interest charges on cards with a promotional balance

Wed Jul 18 04:00:00 EDT 2018

  • In a major break from industry practice, Barclaycard will waive interest charges on purchases that are paid in full if a card also has a promotional balance, such as a balance transfer, money transfer or purchase promotion
  • Although over half of consumers hold multiple credit cards, 37 per cent reveal they would prefer to have only one – so this change provides a simpler way to keep track of finances
  • Barclaycard’s decision will also help to reduce confusion, as 29 per cent of Brits admit they don’t understand how interest is charged on credit cards with a promotional balance
  • Barclaycard becomes the largest credit card provider in the UK to make this move which will help make products and services more transparent for consumers

More than 9m credit card users in the UK could benefit from a change in how interest is charged, ending the need to hold multiple cards, each with a different function – ultimately providing an easier way to help manage spending.

From 1 August, Barclaycard is waiving all interest charges on purchases for cardholders with a promotional balance – such as a balance transfer, money transfer or a purchase promotion. Under this new scheme, cardholders make new purchases during the billing cycle and pay them off in full by their payment due date will no longer pay any interest on those transactions.

This marks a step-change from current industry practice, where any spending on a card with a promotional balance triggers an interest charge unless the full balance is paid.

This change comes as Barclaycard research* reveals that 37 per cent of consumers hold more than one credit card. A majority (55 per cent) admit to a ‘jam jar’ approach, or holding a number of cards with each serving just one function – such as one for a balance transfer and another for spending.

Almost four in ten (37 per cent) consumers who have multiple credit accounts also revealed they would prefer to have just one credit card which they can use for a range of purposes. A little over half (51 per cent) say the top reason is to reduce the number cards to physically keep track of, but control is another important motivation with 47 per cent believing it would be easier to manage their finances if they could see all purchases, transfers and rewards in one place.

Barclaycard’s decision to waive interest charges will help by enabling consumers to hold a single multi-purpose card and manage just one account. The move will also help to ease confusion, as three in ten (29 per cent) credit cardholders say they don't understand how interest is charged on a card with a promotional balance.

The waiving of interest charges is the latest in a series of steps that Barclaycard has taken to ensure its products and services are clear and transparent for cardholders. In 2015, the payment provider updated its terms and conditions to make it clearer that the interest rates on its cards are directly tied to the Bank of England’s base rate. In 2014, Barclaycard was also the first to provide cardholders access to their Experian credit score free of charge so they could gain greater visibility of their credit file.

Jennie Knight, Managing Director at Barclaycard, said:

“Simplifying the way interest is charged is a positive move for our cardholders and could benefit millions of customers in the UK. Aside from reducing any confusion when their statement arrives, consumers will now be able to hold just one card that can do it all, from transferring a balance to making everyday purchases.

“We’re proud to be the largest credit card provider in the UK to make this change which is the latest in a series of steps Barclaycard has taken to make products and services clear and transparent for cardholders.”

INDICATIVE EXAMPLE

  • A customer has transferred a balance of £1,000 at a promotional rate of 0 per cent for 18 months.
  • The customer makes purchases totalling £500 by the 10th day of their billing cycle. Interest is calculated daily on these transactions. Assuming the customer’s annual compound interest rate is 19.9 per cent, the purchases are charged at a monthly interest rate of 1.524 per cent.
  • At the end of the billing cycle, assuming no further purchases, the customer’s statement is produced and the full balance would be £1,500 (£1,000 promotional balance and £500 of new purchases). The statement would note that if the balance isn’t paid in full by the payment due date, £15.13 of interest would be added to the next statement.
  • Currently, even if the customer pays £500 to clear the new purchases, the £15.13 would still be added to the next statement as the customer has not paid their full statement balance of £1,500.
  • After the change, if the customer pays £500 to clear the new purchases, Barclaycard will waive the interest payable on those purchases even though the full statement balance of £1,500 would not be cleared. 
  • As a result, the customer can maintain the 0 per cent promotional rate on their transferred balance of £1,000. Assuming they spend £500 per month and pay it off in full each month, this change would save them £122.38 per year.

Notes to editors

*Consumer research was conducted by Opinium surveying a nationally representative sample of 2,010 adults (18+) from 29 to 31 May 2018.

For more information, please contact Linda Yang at Barclaycard on siyuanlinda.yang@barclaycard.co.uk or 0203 55 555 86.


About Barclaycard

Barclaycard, part of Barclays Bank PLC, is a leading global payment business that helps consumers, retailers and businesses to make and take payments flexibly, and to access short-term credit and point-of-sale finance. In 2017 we processed over £250bn in transactions globally. Barclaycard is a pioneer of new forms of payment and is at the forefront of developing viable contactless and mobile payment schemes for today and cutting-edge forms of payment for the future. We also partner with a wide range of organisations across the globe to offer their customers or members payment options and credit.

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