Friday, 29 December 2006

RBS criticised for extortionate lending in Germany

The European Coalition for Responsible Credit has highlighted how the Royal Bank of Scotland is circumventing German anti-usury regulation by charging excessive fees for cash withdrawals on its credit card. The Institute for Financial Services (IFF) in Germany comment :

"The Royal Bank of Scotland distributes a seemingly free credit card to people in Germany and elsewhere, which after a certain while turns into high price credit with certain inbuilt tricky characteristics. For example, cash withdrawal with this credit card will cost an extra fee of up to 4.75% for those who have no assets on the credit card account (and who does?). This is targeted at people in trouble with debt, who are tempted to use the credit card as a means to take out an instalment loan. In this case it means that the interest rate in countries like Germany, France, and the Benelux can climb up to 35% p.a. if it is for a small amount and there are delays in paying it back. This is an ingenious circumvention of continental usury regulation as well as a breach of the price disclosure rules of the EU, which seems to be legal in the UK. "

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