OFT urges customers to shop around for credit cards

Most consumers are unaware that they are putting themselves at a financial disadvantage when taking out a new credit card, it has emerged.

Consumers who don't shop around for credit cards are throwing money away without realising it, according to John Fingleton, chief executive at the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

His comments follow research by the body which revealed that 70 per cent of credit card holders did not compare other products on the market before choosing their current card.

Consumer group Which? has also recently expressed concern over the number of credit card customers who choose such a product without understanding all the financial issues within their policy that could cost them money.

A standardisation of terminology used by credit card providers, improved awareness of the benefits of shopping around for a credit card and the introduction of a credit card price comparison website run by the Financial Services Authority are the main recommendations listed by the OFT in a new credit card comparisons report this week.

"It is essential that consumers are given the right tools to make comparisons between credit cards more easily," Mr Fingleton said.

Expenditure on credit cards in December by British consumers totalled £32.2 billion, according to research by Apacs.

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