The worst credit card providers
Mint has been named as the UK’s worst credit card provider, closely followed by MBNA, Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax.
Lloyds TSB and Virgin Money also made the top five worst credit card providers in an annual survey by Which? Money. Ironically, both the Virgin Money and Mint cards are issued by MBNA.
At the other end of the scale, John Lewis (Waitrose), Smile and First Direct came out as the top providers for customer satisfaction, along with M&S Money, the Co-operative Bank and Nationwide.
Nationwide’s credit card has also fallen in popularity, slipping from second most popular last year to sixth position. Which? says the fall is down to the building society introducing overseas fees on its credit cards, meaning customers now pay 0.84% when they use their cards outside of Europe. Previously, Nationwide was one of the only cards to waive overseas fees.
The best - and worst - cards from the Which? Money survey:
|Credit card provider||Customer satisfaction|
Earlier this year, Moneywise revealed the winners of our Customer Services Awards – with 10,000 responses, this is the UK’s largest dedicated survey of customer service performance among financial companies.
A whopping 85% of Moneywise respondents hold credit cards, in most cases more than one.
American Express was named the best credit card provider in the awards, followed by Tesco.
Elsewhere, Capital One was voted number one provider for customers who pay off their balance in full each month, while Tesco came first among customers with outstanding balances.
American Express topped the polls for its call centre service, again closely followed by Tesco, while Egg was named as having the best online services.
Read more about the awards and find out the UK’s most trusted financial companies
The Which? Money survey also revealed how credit card customers had fared since the onset of the recession, with one in eight seeing their interest rate or their terms and conditions changed.
Meanwhile, 24% has been given an increased credit limit without them asking, despite the potential negative impact this could have on their credit record.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.
This is a mutual organisation owned by its members and not by shareholders. These societies offer a range of financial services but have historically concentrated on taking deposits from savers and lending the money to borrowers as mortgages, hence the name. In the mid-1990s many societies “demutualised” and became banks. One academic study (Heffernan, 2003) found demutualised societies’ pricing on deposits and mortgages was more favourable to shareholders than to customers, with the remaining mutual building societies offering consistently better rates. In 1900, there were 2,286 building societies in the UK; in 2011, there are just 51.