New rules on debt from credit card deals

By UK CreditCards.com

Credit card customers who are in financial difficulties are set to be given "breathing space" where they will not be contacted by a debt collection agency.

The Credit Services Association (CSA) -- a body representing many of the UK's debt collection agencies -- has struck a deal with the government, aimed at assisting struggling borrowers. Under the new rules, consumers who contact an accredited debt adviser, like the Consumer Credit Counselling Service, will not be pursued for debt for 30 days.

Any agency that is a member of the CSA will also be required to inform borrowers of the availability of advisers when they contact them.

Consumer Minister Gareth Thomas commented: "We know that many people are already struggling to stay on top of their bills and pay their debts, so we are taking action to ensure consumers are in control of their finances and are treated fairly."

A number of experts have suggested that the economic downturn will mean people's relationship to credit cards will change. In January, Neil Munroe, external affairs director at credit advice company Equifax, said that consumers will begin to pay off more of their credit card debt, rather than letting it accumulate.

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Published: 6 April 2009