Society continues to make credit cards fairer and easier to understand for customers
Nationwide is today calling on other credit card providers to change the way they operate introductory balance transfer and purchase offers so customers always get the full length of the deals they sign-up for.
Britain’s largest building society has taken the decision to refresh the way it operates its credit cards as part of a long-term commitment to making them fairer and easier to understand.
The current industry standard means that customers have to transfer their debt to a credit card normally within the first three months of opening in order to take advantage of an introductory balance transfer offer. However, the offer actually starts from the day the card is opened, and not when the balance transfer is made. This means that if a customer waits until the last minute to do the balance transfer, they would lose out on three months’ benefit from their deal.
To get around this issue, Nationwide will now honour the full balance transfer period from the day the transfer is made within the first three months window – meaning no time will ever be lost.
In addition, customers will now also be able to benefit from at least the full length of any introductory purchase offers. The industry standard means that the clock begins ticking even before the card arrives, meaning someone may lose some of their introductory purchase offer waiting for their card to arrive in the post.
Nationwide credit card customers will be given an additional month interest free to take into account the time for the card to be posted – usually only a couple of days. The end date will also fall on the statement date, meaning customers shouldn’t get caught out with payments that may be due between statements.
The decision to give customers the power to activate their introductory balance transfer offers at a time that suits follows other recent positive changes to Nationwide’s credit cards. Earlier this year Nationwide pledged not to increase customers’ credit limits without their permission, while last year the Society removed the fee customers are charged should they exceed their agreed limit.
The Society also made positive changes to the way interest is charged on credit cards in 2015 - customers are no longer automatically charged interest on the full amount of additional purchases during a balance transfer period, as long as they pay off the entire purchase amount at the end of the month.
Nationwide has a history of doing the right thing for its credit card customers, including:
- Becoming the first major provider to offer a positive order of payments, meaning the most expensive debt is paid first. This has since been introduced as standard practice by the regulator.
- Offering a grace period when customers miss a payment during an introductory purchase offer, whereas other providers end the introductory deal at that point.
- 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: “Customers naturally expect to be able to make use of what they sign up for. This is why we have moved to ensure that whenever customers make a balance transfer within the first three months they will always get the full length of any offers.
”These changes highlight our commitment to make our products fairer and more relevant to customers’ lives. We would like to see the industry also begin stripping away some of the complex and vague rules surrounding credit cards. The combined impact would send a reassuring message that the interests of the customer are being put at the front of the queue.”