Profit on cards for Provident Financial

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The Independent Online

Provident Financial's credit-card business, Vanquis, saw a surge in profits last year, up by 61 per cent to £71m.

Vanquis, which charges a 39.9 per cent actual percentage rate on average, is proving so successful that Provident has upped its target customer numbers by 300,000 from today's 900,000 to between 1.3 million and 1.5 million.

"That's not that we see the number of people who find it hard to get credit cards from high street banks rising," its chief executive Peter Crooks said. "That remains steady at 7 to 8 million people. But our marketing is proving very effective and we expect to win a larger share of the market, particularly as the main high street banks remain very cautious."

However, Provident's traditional doorstep lending saw a slight slip in profits to £125m as cash-strapped customers had to spend more on food and fuel bills.