As the festive season gathers pace there is an increased demand for credit – in the form of credit cards, loans or store cards. Merton Council is backing the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) campaign to encourage people to shop around for credit.
New OFT research shows the importance of shopping around for credit to find the right deal. A survey found that a third of people had arranged a credit deal without comparing it to other deals and over a third of 18-24 year olds had taken out credit while shopping which they hadn’t intended to before setting out.
The campaign is encouraging consumers to treat credit as they would treat other major purchases. A leaflet, which is available from Merton’s trading standards section, has been produced to set out 10 key questions for consumers to ask themselves before signing up for credit:
– How much will the credit cost you compared with other similar deals?
– Is your home being used as security?
– Is it the best deal and interest rate you can get?
– Do you fully understand the credit agreement form you are about to sign?
– Will the interest rate stay the same?
– Are there any extra charges if you repay the debt early?
– What happens if you miss a payment?
– What do you have to pay each month and for how long?
– What’s the total amount that you will pay back?
– Can you take the credit agreement away to consider at your leisure?
For a copy if the OFT ‘Shop for credit to find the right deal for you’ leaflet call 020 8545 4018. For more information on the OFT call 08457 22 44 99 or visit http://www.oft.gov.uk.
Notes to editors
Other key findings from the OFT survey include:
– One in five people have signed a credit agreement they later regretted
– Just under a third of people felt pressurised to take up credit
– A majority of people said that they do not always read all of the small print before signing.
Senior Press & PR Officer
London Borough of Merton
020 8545 3327