A rise in costs for users of any financial service usually results in public outcry, why is it then that so many of those same consumers allow penalty fees and charges to accrue on their credit cards, when the problem could so easily be avoided?
The financial groups Defaqto and MoneyExpert have released a report in which the startling figure that one in five consumers have had to pay just such a charge, and while credit cards were the worst offender, a number of different personal finance services also incurred unnecessary charges. These services included charges for simple personal finance errors such as allowing an overdraft to go over the agreed bank limit, or investing in an inflexible mortgage and then paying off the debt early. In both cases either better preparation beforehand with regards to choosing the right provider (such as using an online personal finance database like Moneynet (http://www.moneynet.co.uk/credit-card/index.shtml ) or Motley Fool (http://www.fool.co.uk ) ) or taking advantage of financial options now readily available would have presented more flexible options which would not have imposed the penalties.
To take an example, credit cards allow greater control over your personal cash flow – you can pay now for a product or service even if the funds you use will not be available to you until the following month, at which point you pay off the credit card. Credit cards also have valuable incentives for their use with larger purchases, featuring, as the majority do, insurance options and traceability. However when you are making smaller purchases, say clothing or household products, then the use of a credit card may not be the best use of your money: searching for a suitable personal loan would most likely result in better short-term rates and the avoidance of penalties such as those imposed on the one in five people surveyed by Defaqto and MoneyExpert.
With the survey also producing the result that one in twenty consumers faced charges in excess of £100 it would seem that this problem is more than a trifle for a large portion of the UK population and that while there are a great number of personal finance options available out there, there are very often not used to the advantage of the consumer as they could so easily be with a little research.
All information contained in this article is for general information purpose only and should not be construed as advice under the financial Services act 1986. You are strongly advised to take appropriate professional and legal advice before entering into any binding contracts.