Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Keep on Movin'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Keep on Movin'

Article excerpt



GO ON, be honest.

How many of those New Year resolutions have already vanished into the wasteland of your willpower? Even if you are one of those smug souls who has been able to hold on to their resolve, here's a New Year's promise you may not have considered that could seriously improve your wealth.

What you should have resolved to do was to change your charge or credit card and transferred as many of your expensive debts onto a card which will charge you no interest for up to six months.

Your laziness and/or lack of willpower is costing you a fortune.

If you did, be smug, if you didn't, there's still time before the end of the month to make an effective pledge to yourself for the coming year.

There are more than 59 million credit cards out there, according to the British Bankers' Association, and that's just Visa and Mastercard - more than one for every member of the UK population.

By any reasonable estimate, there are somewhere between 1,200 and 1,500 different brands of card. This ignores most store cards - as should you.

Defaqto, a financial data company, recently identified 43 cards which offer zero per cent on both balance transfers and purchases for a period of, usually, six months.

IN FACT, here's a scary one. According to the first report of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee of January 2004, GE Consumer Finance, which has between 45 per cent and 50 per cent of the store card market in the UK, charges between 28 and 32.5 per cent. The base rate of interest is 3.75 per cent.

Market researcher Mintel estimates that 14 million people in the UK have at least one store card. It could therefore be said that up to seven million people are paying the highest possible fees for their shopping.

The report says: "GE is able to exploit consumers' lack of understanding of the real price of its products. …

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