Barclaycard zero-rate offer blasted for encouraging debt

Barclaycard has come under fire for irresponsibly promoting debt only weeks after Barclays Bank consumer finance director Frederic Nze attacked the rest of the industry for irresponsibly marketing credit (MW July 3).

Consumers’ Association (CA) senior researcher Mike Naylor says Barclaycard’s latest “low rate/no rate” transfer offer encourages consumers to rack up debts. The CA also says the promotional literature is so complicated it had to meet Barclaycard to have the offer explained.

Barclaycard is offering zero per cent interest on any credit card transfers as long as &£50 a month is spent. It also offers two per cent cash back, conditional on the balance not being paid off in full.

Nze had said the industry was guilty of irresponsible marketing and pushing a message that credit has never been cheaper.

Naylor says: “We would urge Barclaycard to heed its own advice and withdraw the offer.”

But Barclays has shrugged off the criticism and is launching the promotion in its branches this week, followed by a press and direct mail campaign. A Barclaycard spokesman says: “It is not in our interests to lend to people who can’t afford to repay. We will monitor response – if there is confusion we will modify the offer.”

Barclays gave evidence to the Treasury Select Committee’s critical inquiry into the credit and store card industry. The Government will set out new rules on the advertising of credit in the autumn.

Latest from Marketing Week

Marketing Week Meets… Mark Ritson

The Marketing Week columnist, consultant and professor explains why marketers need to talk about “making money first”, in a podcast recorded at the Festival of Marketing in October.


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here