Credit card rate too high, says bank chief

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The Independent Online

It will have come as a surprise to many credit card holders this week that Matt Barrett, Barclays chief executive, considers the interest rate on credit cards to be too high, because, the insurer More Than says, nearly two-thirds of the public have no idea what rates they are paying.

Mr Barrett shocked a hearing of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee on Thursday when he revealed his personal view of credit card charges, because Barclays owns the UK market leader and sponsor of the football Premiership, Barclaycard. But MPs were also taken aback by Mr Barrett's apparent ignorance of how credit cards work.

After the meeting, Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk and a member of the Committee, said: "People are groping around in the thick fog of charges, interest-free credit periods, misleading introductory offers and sharp marketing practices. There does not seem to be any general commitment by the credit industry to tell it to people straight and simple."

Frances Harrison, head of policy at the National Consumer Council, said: "MPs have done consumers a great service by putting credit cards under the microscope and exposing bad practices."

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