19 January 2016
- Other changes include improvements to statements that make offers and end dates clearer
- Society commits to further simplify terms and conditions
Britain’s biggest building society has announced a string of improvements to its credit cards in a bid to stamp out confusion over rates, end dates and limits.
The move, which comes as part of a major revision of Nationwide’s credit card terms and conditions, is designed to make credit cards more customer-friendly and easier to understand. It follows positive announcements made last year to make processes more transparent.
The changes include:
No automatic increases for credit card limits:
Nationwide credit card customers will never have their limits increased without their knowledge as the Society becomes the first provider to make such a commitment. This will ensure that the current process, where customers are asked if they would like an increase in their credit limit, is protected in future. This formed one of the improvements suggested by the recent FCA market study into credit cards.
Clarity of offers and end dates:
As part of the Society’s commitment to being open and transparent with borrowers, it has amended statements to make them clearer and easier for customers to understand. People can now see how much interest is being charged on each part of their balance (see notes to editors for copy of new statement and changes). For example, they will be able to see how much of their balance is on any introductory purchase or balance transfer offer, and how much of their balance is being charged the standard APR. Promotional offer end dates will also be added to monthly statements, so customers will always know exactly when an offer ends and when they will move to the standard APR, helping them manage their money more easily.
Length of Ts & Cs:
The terms and conditions have been reduced in size by around 15 per cent and rewritten to make them more user-friendly and easier to understand. New versions of the terms and conditions have been sent to all credit card customers.
Nationwide has a history of doing the right thing for credit card customers. This includes:
- Becoming the first major provider to offer a positive order of payments, meaning the most expensive debt is paid off first. This was later introduced as standard practice by the regulator.
- Unlike other providers, if a customer misses a payment the Society does not end any introductory offers they are benefitting from.
- Removing the over limit fee so customers aren’t penalised for making a mistake.
- Changing the way interest is charged on purchases when a customer is on an introductory balance transfer offer to ensure the purchase balance is kept separate – the only provider to do this.
- Offering soft quotes at the credit card application stage, meaning customers receive their credit limit and APR prior to getting a full quote, which impacts credit scores.
- Offering the same deals regardless of whether applying online, over the phone or in branch.
John Crossley, Nationwide’s Head of Credit Cards and Personal Loans, said: “Our plan to make credit cards more customer-friendly is based on a series of positive changes that together create a product that can be trusted and understood in equal measure.
“As responsible providers, we need to encourage customers to understand their terms and conditions and our view is that anything we can do to make them easier to digest is a step in the right direction.
“Nationwide prides itself on doing the right thing for our customers. We hope that these latest changes build on this commitment”.