Wednesday 23 September 1998
Like other industry leaders, however, Barclaycard is finding that the world doesn't stand still after all.
Ten years ago there were 80 credit cards in circulation and Barclaycard only had to worry about serious competition from Access, Visa and Mastercard. Now there are 1,300 varieties on offer. Even Guide Dogs for the Blind has one. More seriously, the supermarkets, direct banks and US finance houses have arrived on the scene with rates to make the eyes water.
Barclaycard retorts that it is still good value for money, pointing out that two third of its customers clear their accounts before they have to pay interest. But when the payments do start they snowball painfully. For the increasing numbers who live in a state of perpetual debt, a low APR and shorter interest free period makes better economic sense.
Barclaycard has tried to stem the tide of defections by tying up Visa so that it no longer markets itself independently. It has also led the way in offering extras like cheap electricity, air fares and telephone bills. But having to spend pounds 9,000 to earn a free toaster is the kind of offer most of us can decline.
Finally, Barclaycard is grasping the nettle and making its staff pay for its increasing vulnerability. A quarter of the workforce or 1,100 jobs are, to use the company's quaint phraseology, going to "fall away", as Barclaycard replaces labour with new technology.
Aside from the cost-cutting, however, there is not a single mention of any new strategy to head off the competition. The latest fall in profits suggests that Barclaycard's spectacular margins are already under pressure. If it wants to survive at all long term, it may have to think of cutting rates as well as jobs.
- 1 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery reports: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Video: Boxer Vido Loncar brutally assaults referee following defeat
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991 with most Brits wanting to stay in'
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £28000 per annum + bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Business Syste...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: The SThree group is a world le...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £Competitive: SThree: SThree Group and have be...