More cards caught in fees net

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The Independent Online
BANK of Scotland is to charge a fee on the charity-linked Mastercard credit cards that benefit 350 organisations. The card will cost pounds 7.50 a year from next month.

Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital and Mensa are among the organisations in the Bank of Scotland scheme. The cards are offered to members and users of the participating organisations. A donation is made when the account is opened, and later the bank hands over a percentage of amounts debited from it.

The rate of interest charged on the card will be cut from next month when the fee is added. It will be reduced from 2.038 per cent a month to 1.75 per cent. The annual percentage rate (APR) comes down from 27.3 per cent to 24 per cent.

Bank of Scotland operates another charity card for the National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children and this already carries a pounds 10 annual fee.

Some other banks have already started charging for charity cards. Royal Bank of Scotland charges pounds 10 a year for the Mastercard that benefits the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Leeds Permanent Building Society's Visa card - the society's only credit card - benefits the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, the British Heart Foundation and Mencap, and charges an annual fee of pounds 12.

It is still possible to find fee-free charity cards however.

According to the rate-tracking magazine Moneyfacts, these include Midland Bank's Arts Card; the Co-operative Bank's cards for Help the Aged, the Royal Society for Protection of Birds, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats; Girobank's Oxfam card and TSB's card for Save the Children.

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