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.

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