New store card advice guide aiming to help reduce region’s personal debt levels

A new, free consumer advice guide on store cards has been produced by insolvency trade body R3 to help reduce the number of people in the north east experiencing financial difficulties through their uninformed use.

The guide, which can be downloaded from www.r3.org.uk is designed to show consumers how to make the most out of the store cards and how to avoid getting into financial trouble.

R3 has previously called for a ban on financially unqualified shop staff being allowed to promote store credit cards; a practice which it believes contributes significantly to the mountain of personal debt in the UK and can entice vulnerable customers into debt.

A recent survey of the organisation’s members showed that two thirds (66%) of them have dealt with insolvency cases where people have signed up for a store card without understanding what they had let themselves in for. 

More than three quarters (78%) of those surveyed believe that consumers view spending on store cards as less ‘real’ than spending in cash and so unwittingly go over budget.

Linda Farish, chairman of the north east arm of insolvency trade body R3 and director of Recovery & Insolvency at Newcastle-based accountants RMT, says:  “Store cards must be handled just like any other credit card, and offering store credit at the point of sale means that many vulnerable consumers do not have the time or information required to grasp that they are entering into a legally binding contract.
“This advice guide is designed to make consumers stop and think - we can’t stop people from using store cards but we can show them how to make sure the store card works for them.”

Before you take out a store card, R3 advises potential customers that they:

  • Take the application form away with you so that you can read it at your leisure. Don’t be pressured into signing straight away.
  • See if there’s an interest-free period, and check what the interest rate will be afterwards.
  • Remember to check the penalties for default and late payment.
  • Remember that the smaller the repayment you make, the longer you will be paying the money back and the more expensive it becomes. In some cases, if you only make the minimum repayment you will only be paying off the interest.

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For further information please contact:
Julian Christopher, Footprint Public Relations, t: 07891 005034
e: julianchristopher@btinternet.com

Addy Frederick, R3 Communications Officer
t: 020 7566 4217  m: 07825 679 462  e: addy.frederick@r3.org.uk

Notes to editors:

  • R3 is the trade body for Insolvency Professionals, and is made up of 97% of the UK’s Insolvency Practitioners from all over the UK.
  • R3 comments on a wide variety of personal and corporate insolvency issues. Please contact the press office, or see www.r3.org.uk for further information.
  • R3 promotes best practice for professionals working with financially troubled individuals and businesses; all R3 members are regulated by one of nine recognised professional bodies.
  • R3 stands for ‘Rescue, Recovery, and Renewal’ and is also known as the Association of Business Recovery Professionals.