Credit Cards: Debts

HM Treasury written question – answered on 20th July 2016.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality)

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will hold discussions with credit card companies on steps to support people who have large credit card debts related to shopping.

Photo of Simon Kirby Simon Kirby The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The Government has fundamentally reformed regulation of the consumer credit market, which includes the credit card sector. Consumer credit regulation transferred from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on 1 April 2014.

The FCA is currently undertaking a thorough review of the credit card market through its ‘credit card market study’. The market study is investigating three areas, one of which is the extent of unaffordable credit card debt. On 3 November 2015 the FCA published its interim report which found that the market was working reasonably well for most customers. However, the FCA expressed concern about the scale of potentially problematic debt in this sector, and the incentives for firms to manage this.

The interim report also included the FCA’s early thinking on potential remedies which include measures to give consumers more control over their credit limits, measures to encourage customers to pay off debt quicker when they can afford to, and proposals that firms do more to identify earlier those consumers who may be struggling to repay and take action to help them manage their repayments. The FCA is currently asking for feedback on the findings and potential remedies.

The Government is looking forward to the final report in Q3 2016, and would encourage interested parties to give their views to the FCA to assist it in addressing the issues it has identified.

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