Those who roll over from 0% APR offers could end up paying more money in interest
Comparethemarket.com research has found that nearly half of all UK credit card holders (equating to around 17 million people nationwide) have never switched their card.
One of the benefits of many credit cards is an introductory 0% APR offer, with interest free credit for a designated period. The average 0% APR period is 18 months. After which point people are automatically rolled onto far higher interest rates. Comparethemarket.com says that average APR currently sits at around 20% but can reach as high as 30%.
Credit card holders must meet their minimum payment requirements each month to avoid going into default. The research found that over a third don’t pay off the full balance left on their card monthly. This means they are more likely to pay more on their debt in interest, taking them longer to pay off the outstanding, if and when they roll off a 0% APR.
John Crossley, director of money, at comparethemarket.com, said:
“The UK has woken up to the money saving benefits of switching energy tariff and insurance, so it’s surprising that more people aren’t doing the same when it comes to their credit card – particularly when the cost of rolling onto a default APR is so high.
“Reviewing your provider when your 0% APR offer comes to an end is a healthy way of staying on top of your finances and you can also take advantage of the different rewards which many cards now offer. Switching between providers is a relatively quick process but it is worth reviewing the different kind of credit cards available before making a decision.
“Take the time to use online tools which can help you check your credit score without damaging your credit rating and ensure you are on the best deal for your financial circumstances.”
When asked why they hadn’t switched credit card provider, nearly one in five said they simply can’t be bothered. Over one in ten haven’t switched as they’re concerned that they won’t get accepted by another provider.
The top three reasons why people choose to switch credit card providers are that their 0% interest period was coming to an end (35%), to get cash back or rewards (24%), or to get a longer balance transfer period (13%).
Comparethemarket.com’s Credit Card Eligibility Check calculates the percentage chance of being accepted for credit cards, without impacting credit scores.