My shock at credit card fat cats

21 December 2010

My new position at Moneywise inspired me to get a grip on my finances. I'm generally ok. I spend a lot, don't get me wrong, but I'm careful to make sure that even though I'm probably spending more than I should, I never leave myself at risk of being unable to pay my rent or bills.

My plan to get things in order was to move my credit card balance to a MBNA 0% interest card with the intention of clearing it in 2011. It's not a massive bill by any means but having it on a card where it won't garner interest would make it much easier to pay off.

My problem was through sheer stupidity I was late with a couple of payments this year (once when I was travelling around New Zealand and another time when I had a particularly busy month and it just slipped my mind). This was careless I know and so I was not surprised when I was refused the transfer.

Fair enough, I thought. I'll just have to curb my spending and clear it sooner than I'd planned.

What shocked me though was the email I received. It confirmed I had not been accepted for the transfer but then offered me an alternative credit card with Vanquis Bank.

The card did not provide a 0% balance transfer so was of no use to me in terms of making headway with my current card. And it had an extortionate APR of 39.9%. Here was I, trying to be good and organise my finances and instead I'm being offered the chance to get into an incredible amount of debt!

Thankfully I am not in any difficulty and am not seeking to take on another credit card, let alone one with such a ridiculous rate. But what's worrying me is that I know people who are struggling, and who aren't financially aware, who might very well see the Vanquis card as a way out.

Lenders have a responsibility to protect consumers and this should always come before their need to flog products.