Debt Collection

Justice written question – answered on 11th January 2010.

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Photo of Bob Neill Bob Neill Shadow Minister (Communities and Local Government), Deputy Chair, Conservative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 15 July 2009, Official Report, column 435W, on debt collection, what representations (a) his Department and (b) HM Courts Service have received on collecting debts through credit card payment.

Photo of Bridget Prentice Bridget Prentice Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice

In considering the extension of credit and debit card facilities to remaining regions within HMCS the opinions of various groups within the debt industry (eg the Citizens Advice Bureau) were sought.

Those consulted expressed some concern that accepting credit card payments for a debt, particularly one which may have arisen from a consumer credit debt, may exacerbate a debtor's difficulties. However, it was widely recognised that the introduction of credit and debit card facilities would be welcomed among the large majority of responsible court users where a debt has arisen from a genuine dispute for a small claim and that not providing these facilities would be denying those debtors a very convenient way to pay their debt.

All courts who have introduced credit and debit card facilities have found them to be extremely useful, allowing them to operate more efficiently. There is high demand from other courts, based on customer feedback, to introduce the facilities on a wider basis.

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