Your Credit Cards Axed ...Pay Now; FINANCIAL MAIL
Byline: JEFF PRESTRIDGE
MARTIN Donovan is not a happy man. He is among 6,000 bank customers to be told abruptly to cut up their credit cards and pay back any balance.
The demand follows Standard Chartered's decision to quit the credit card market.
It wrote to customers late last month saying it had reviewed the operation of its Sterling Visa product and had 'reluctantly decided to cease the issue of these cards'.
Monthly interest is 2.2 per cent and the annual percentage rate (APR) 29.8 per cent.
More dramatically, the bank said that credit card accounts would be closed at the end of the year and that customers should take steps to clear any outstanding balance by then.
The letter read: 'Please destroy your card as soon as the account is closed.
Please make arrangements to clear any outstanding balance on your Sterling Visa credit card by 31 December 2000. We would also ask you to ensure that you cancel any annual or regular payments, which are made from your card.'
Martin, 45, from Upminster, Essex, says: 'I have held a Sterling Visa card for more than 15 years and I am disgusted by the bank's move. I have just [pounds sterling]600 outstanding so I will be able to settle the balance, but for others the thought of paying back a huge sum in one go must be frightening.
'I don't think I have ever been so shabbily treated by a financial services company. So much for being loyal. The timing of this debacle reminds me of just one Christmas story, and that's Scrooge.' Last week, Martin, an internet company sales manager, phoned Standard to complain. …