Credit card firms cash in on ATM withdrawals

  • Average APR on cash withdrawals rises to over 25%

Credit card firms are cashing in on customers who use their plastic to take out cash from an ATM, according to new analysis* by MoneyExpert.com.

The independent financial comparison website says the average APR charged to customers who borrow cash and do not clear the balance has continually risen since November 2006 from 21.27 per cent then to 23.7 per cent in June 2007 to 25.3 per cent now.

And according to MoneyExpert.com two out of three credit cards (65%) still charge more than the market average APR for taking out cash. The website says that 159 of the 246 cards on the market charge over 26.2 per cent, with the most expensive charging a whopping 46.19 per cent.

Credit card firms have seen profits squeezed by both a regulatory clampdown and the ‘rate tart’ phenomenon, with customers switching cards to chase 0% deals.

With the cost of living continuing to rise, many people may be forced to turn to their credit card for cash in what could turn out to be an expensive last resort. With millions of pounds being withdrawn from ATMs using credit cards each month, MoneyExpert.com warns customers to pay off the balance if at all possible or face hefty charges.

Sean Gardner, director of MoneyExpert.com, said: "Before you put your credit card in an ATM for cash, remember that it is one of the most expensive forms of borrowing around. Unless it’s absolutely necessary you should try to find another way to make a payment."

"Average APRs on cash withdrawals have always been hefty, but a steady four per cent increase since November 2006 shows card firms are continuing to push up rates."

"Remember to clear your balance as soon as soon as you can so that any cash you have withdrawn doesn’t sit there accruing interest. If you can use a debit card or pay another way, it’s bound to be cheaper than your credit card."

Even those who do pay off their balance will be charged something – card firms impose a fee for withdrawing cash on your plastic which can be as high as three per cent.

Notes:
* MoneyExpert.com research 13.11.06, 25.06.07, 16.07.08

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