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       Beware the hidden costs on credit card cheques – APRs as high as 21.95%
       Watch out for punitive fees for ‘bounced’ or ‘cancelled’ credit card cheques

For immediate release – 3 March 2006: As the Office of Fair Trading calls for legislation to
protect consumers using credit card cheques,, the price
comparison website, once again warns consumers to be cautious of unsolicited credit card
cheques through the letterbox. has found that some leading credit card providers charge an APR
in excess of 20% when purchases are made using credit card cheques - significantly higher
than the standard APR. Not only this, but consumers will often find that there is no interest
free period and may even be hit with an additional fee, typically 2% of the transaction.

Robert Kenley, head of credit cards at said: “We fully back the
call to action by the OFT on this matter and has called for
consumer action before. If you receive unsolicited cheques – do not use them unless you
fully understand the charges. Credit card cheques are not the same as the cheques you get
with your bank account – they may look the same, but the charges are certainly not!

“Credit card cheques can be easily misconstrued as free money with the same charges as
spending on your credit card. Consumers may feel tempted to cash the cheque for a quick
lump sum, but the stringent fees and conditions mean this form of payment and borrowing is
best avoided.”

For example, RBS Platinum Card and NatWest Classic Card both charge 20.89% interest
on credit card cheques, nearly 20 per cent higher than the standard purchase rate at 16.9%,
and there is no interest free period. There is also a 2% fee for each cheque used or a
minimum £1.50 charge. Halifax One charges 21.95%, nearly 28 per cent higher than the
15.9% it charges for purchases and there’s a 2% fee to boot. MBNA fares slightly better
since it charges the same interest rate for cheques and purchases – 15.9%, but it charges a
minimum of £3 to use them.

But it doesn’t end here. points out that consumers should also be
aware that there are also some other charges relating to ‘bounced’ and ‘cancelled’ credit
card cheques – often these are buried in the small print. MBNA Platinum Card, RBS
Platinum, NatWest Classic and HSBC Bank Credit Card all charge £25 if the credit card
cheque bounces and the amount exceeds the available credit limit. Barclaycard Platinum
and Lloyds TSB Platinum Card both charge £20. These penalties are then added to the
customer’s account and interest charged against them from day one.

Robert continued: “Until there is more transparency surrounding credit card cheques, my
advice is to read the small print – that’s if you really feel you need to use the cheque.” is a website where consumers can compare the cost of personal
finance products, save money and apply online. The website has more than 28 different
channels. Visit for more information.

                                             - ENDS -

For further information, please contact:
Jeena Nadarajan / Charlotte Edgar
Lansons Communications
Tel: 020 7294 3629 / 3622 /


Robert Kenley, head of credit cards
Tel: 01244 665 700

Notes to editors:

NB - Card providers, from time to time, will send credit card cheques at reduced rates of interest to
their customers, but the charges and the date interest is levied from still applies.

About is a website where consumers can compare personal finance products,
save money and apply online. The website has 28 different channels including personal loans, credit
cards, mortgages, current accounts, savings accounts, motor insurance, home insurance, travel
insurance and stockbroking services.

Launched in December 1999, is owned by
Financial Group Ltd which also wholly owns Mortgage 2000 Financial Group Ltd, consisting of
Encore, a mortgage sourcing system for mortgage brokers and intermediaries; Mortgage 2000
Design & Packaging Ltd – a third party mortgage administration company; Mortgage 2000 (M2)
Mortgage Club Ltd – a sales distribution arm for mortgage lenders to conduct business through.

Consumers using the site have access to details of:
Over 7,000 mortgages
Over 300 credit cards
Over 400 personal loans
Over 1,100 savings accounts, including 255 cash ISAs, 130 children’s accounts and 300 offshore
Over 300 current accounts
Over 100 life insurance products, 100 critical illness policies, over 1230 private medical insurance
Over 1,200 travel insurance policies
Over 100 motor breakdown policies
Over 300 pet insurance policies
Over 3,000 energy tariffs
Over 100 share dealing accounts
Over 30 stakeholder pensions and annuities
Plus a free rate alert service which alerts subscribers by email of market-leading rates on most
channels including mortgages, credit cards and personal loans

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