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to have told the bank staff that I thought it was irresponsible to offer me a credit card?

(55 Posts)
CatONineTails Wed 03-Oct-12 16:06:25

I'm a single mum of two, currently on benefits. Money is tight but we manage and I am thankful that I have avoided any kind of debt.

Every time for the last year (once a month on average) that I have used the counter service of my bank, the cashier has asked me if I would be interested in a credit card. Every time, I say the same thing - "No thanks, I'm not in a position to take on any debt right now"

Today, when I gave that answer, she said "But I see from your statement that you shop online, and doing so with your debit card leaves you very vulnerable to fraud. You'd be much better off using a credit card"

I pointed out, politely, that if she was viewing my online statement she could see that my only income is state benefits and that I thought constantly offering me a credit card was somewhat irresponsible of the bank (not her personally and I made that clear).

She insisted it was not at all irresponsible and that she HAD to offer hmm and that using a debit card online was very dangerous. I said that as I understand it, credit cards are not more intrinsically secure than debit cards though they do have more buyer protection if fraud happens (but that wasn't what she was telling me!), but that I still didn't want one as my financial situation is not going to be improved by taking on debt!

She then went on telling me I should be very very careful when shopping online as I am 'wide open to fraud' using my Visa Debit card - which I think is misrepresentative of her!

So... AIBU to think banks should not be pushing credit cards on people who are on benefits!

cozietoesie Wed 03-Oct-12 16:25:20

Why is there an assumption that having a credit card automatically means you'll go into debt? I use mine as a charge card (pay it off monthly) and I'm just as careful with it as I would be with a bank card.

NeDeLaMer Wed 03-Oct-12 16:25:30

What 'DrinkFeck' said.

You are an adult, it's not irresponsible of someone else to offer you a credit card (or actually give you an application form to apply for a credit card, nor to explain the benefits.

You don't have to 'get into debt' you just need to manage your money (as you do now) - it's no different and it is safer and it will improve your credit rating.

However, if you can't manage a credit card without getting into debt then you are doing the right thing by not getting one - but it still doesn't make her irresponsible.

Sorry - YABU.

CatONineTails Wed 03-Oct-12 16:26:20

Yes, you get more protection AFTER fraud happens if you use a credit card. I know that.

She was trying to tell me a credit card was more secure in the first place hmm

CatONineTails Wed 03-Oct-12 16:27:09

And I didn't say she was irresponsible.

I said I thought it didn't fit with the bank's responsible lending blah.

BeauNeidel Wed 03-Oct-12 16:28:27

YANBU, and banks have to 'lend responsibly' and in your case it's not all that responsible!

It's like the many times Barclaycard have written to me to say they will be increasing my limit, even though I have just decreased it hmm In my case I am not so sensible!

crosscupcake Wed 03-Oct-12 16:29:24

OP i agree 100% with you.
My fil has wracked up thousands and thousands of pounds of debt on credit cards and loans, he has led my mil a dogs life becuase of it for 40+ years.

Yet through the post he gets offers of credit cards.

He cashed in his pension to pay off his mortgage and debts and one of the companies would only allow him to pay the debt...with a credit card!

My DH has dug him out of the shit, wanted to get FIL a cash card for withdrawing ONLY what he had in his carefully provided for account, but the bank offerd him a credit card....fucking nuts!

Absolutely nuts! We are worried, all the time that he will start up another cc without any one knowing again.
Its just awful, we have absolutely NO trust in him, he has free rein it seems and they are happy to make the misery go on and on.

cheesesarnie Wed 03-Oct-12 16:29:37

'That's like saying drug dealers are only offering a product and its the fault of the idiots who buy drugs off them. There's blame on both sides there IMO.'

yes blame on both sides, not just the dealer.
so why is the bank to blame? if someone gets themselves into debt they cant just blame the bank/credit card companies.

the bank staff have to do their job!

MrsMellowDrummer Wed 03-Oct-12 16:29:55

We have a credit card that's paid off every month, basically for the same security issues. We never get into debt with it.

It's equally as possible to get into debt with a debit card if you have an overdraft facility on your account. Banks are very quick to offer these, and increase them too.

It is ultimately your responsibility, although I agree that the constant offers in banks/shops/post offices etc are very annoying.

financialwizard Wed 03-Oct-12 16:30:09

I used to work in a bank branch of a well known highly bailed out by the public bank and as a cashier you HAVE to offer all manner of crap products thatwillnotbenefitthecustomer

TheCraicDealer Wed 03-Oct-12 16:31:13

When I was cashiering (particularly in one high street bank that has now gone to the wall --thanks to Fred The Shred--) there was a lot of pressure to sell credit while on the cash. The idea was to get the customer to think about it and then a credit score would be used to weed out the unsuitable ones once they applied.

I remember being told to bring up the possibility of re-selling a loan if I saw a customer was coming to the end of their term as, "they might be used to seeing that money go out every month". Interestingly, this was just before it went tits up in Autumn 2008. Even as a 19 year old working there on my summer vay-cay from uni I thought it was incredibly unethical pushing credit on people like that. So I didn't do it. Mind you, I knew I was leaving after four months, that was probably that cashier's permanent job. And if you want to keep it, you need to tow the line....

Slumberparty Wed 03-Oct-12 16:31:22

YANBU - she has a right to ask you if you want one - she has to it's part of her job. To keep going on a about it when you've already said no is just plain rude I think.
While on the phone renewing my car insurance, the guy asked me if I wanted to add various extras on. After firmly saying no several times he repetedly kept on about them, asking things like "why not", "how would you cope without this then?" etc to the point of being a bit bullying. I was so annoyed after speaking to him I sent an email to the complaints dept. They listened back to the recording of the phone convo and apologised to me and refunded me some money (which I hadn't even asked for or expected).
My point is, we shouldn't have to be constantly bombarded and persuaded to buy things / take out things that we don't want. I hate that I am turning into the kind of person who writes letters of complaint, but I am sick of putting up with these hard-sell, scare-mongering tactics.

....and breathe....

CelineMcBean Wed 03-Oct-12 16:33:59

I think yab a bit u. Her points were valid as was your right to say no. You probably wouldn't have got the card or would have a v low credit limit if only income was benefits. I wouldn't bother writing. Not worth the effort or head space.

That said i hate the indescriminate product pushing though. Someone on extried to sell me a credit card because it had 0% interest. I had £45,000 in my savings account at the time so it was nothing about me and all about rubbish sales practices. She should have asked me about the cash and would have identified a potential investment opportunity. But she didn't so I blew it on crap I didn't really

CatONineTails Wed 03-Oct-12 16:38:57

But there is a power/wealth imbalance, isn't there?

People on full benefits are as poor as it is possible to be in the UK.

Its a struggle week after week after week after week to manage on so little.

Banks are wealthy. They make money off the back of people's debt and misery.

Encouraging me, or anyone in my position, to apply for credit is not responsible! Do you really, really, think that is what a bank who had to bailed out by the taxpayer partly due to their poor lending decisions should be doing? Really?

CelineMcBean Wed 03-Oct-12 17:00:12

Actually I think all respinsible people should have the option of section 74 protection from a credit card and protection from pay day loan companies and door step lenders. Being on benefits doesn't mean you're automatically crap with money and to assume such a thing of all people on benefits is ignorant.

I don't think giving anyone more credit then they can manage is a good idea but I don't think a blanket ban on those on benefits is fair either. Being on benefits shouldn't automatically exclude people from cheaper credit. If you can manage your money responsibly and the credit limit is reasonable I think it it irresponsible not to give access to a small amount of cheap credit as the alternatives are pretty shitty.

If you can manage a debit card you can arguably manage a £250 credit card limit and shouldn't have to be paying 400% APRs and the like for the privalidge.

Pinot Wed 03-Oct-12 17:03:52


Credit cards are not the devil. They are a great way to increase your credit score (when cleared monthly), and provide additional purchase protection.

She wasn't encouraging you to spend more than you could afford, just to spend more wisely. And she has targets to meet, and is probably trying to earn a bonus for doing just that.

Give her a break, eh?

Chandon Wed 03-Oct-12 17:07:32

is a debit card really more dangerous?

Have never had a credit card.

Must I succumb? I buy lots online.

CakeBump Wed 03-Oct-12 17:08:05


Where I live (non UK) my bank wouldn't give me a credit card until they had seen 3 months wages going into my account. I then had to pay an annual fee for the card, plus the entire amount owed is debited from my account mid month by the bank - that is simply how it works, no choice.

Anyone want to guess which country I live in, which has such an eminently sensible attitude to personal credit/debt?? smile

CelineMcBean Wed 03-Oct-12 17:10:48

Well if your credit card gets used fraudulently your whole account can't be cleared out. With a debit card it can be. I always use a credit card online plus all purchases over £100 are protected if seller doesn't honour contract.

NeDeLaMer Wed 03-Oct-12 17:12:59

I am really sorry that you are clearly struggling with money & it's stressing you out, but the bottom line is they are a business - it is their business to loan out money & make money from that.

It is not up to the cashier to look at your account profile then decide whether to offer you credit or not.

It will not be up to the cashier to decide if you are credit worthy or not.

No-one was giving you any credit - you were merely being asked if you wanted to apply for some - BIG difference.

It is like anything in life - we have to be the ones to say NO to temptation, not expect not to be tempted.

Celine - agree completely.

GoSakuramachi Wed 03-Oct-12 17:14:29

So if you took it and run up debts you couldn't pay that would be the banks fault?
Just say no. YABU.

NadiaWadia Wed 03-Oct-12 17:17:27

CelineMcBean - dunno, somewhere in Europe, Germany maybe or Netherlands?

Not the USA, I bet!

CatONineTails Wed 03-Oct-12 17:21:34

I said clearly that I manage and I have no debt.

I don't think I should be encouraged to apply for debt that I have no spare income to repay though.

And she was trying to make out that I would be better off (her words!) if I took out a credit card. Which is bollocks.

I said no. I always say no - this isn't the first time I have been asked and I doubt it will be the last.

Not everyone says no though, and not everyone is declined when they apply hmm

cheesesarnie Wed 03-Oct-12 17:23:34

the people on benefits aren't always the poorest of the poor. The people that only just don't qualify are often just as worse off if not worse.

CheeseandPickledOnion Wed 03-Oct-12 17:28:10

YABU. It's standard practice to offer. Likely you wouldn't have got one anyway, and beside, having a credit card is still no reason to get into debt. Funnily enough you are in control of what you use it for. If you put your online shopping on it and paid it off every month you wouln't incur charges and your situation would be no different.

Clearly you can't be trusted with credit. wink

GoSakuramachi Wed 03-Oct-12 17:29:12

It's not applying for debt though, unless you run up debt. I use my credit card, I pay if off every month. I have no debt at all.

It doesn't matter whether they offer or you ask, any debt you create is entirely your own affair. Don't add to the blame shifting.

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