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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!

IwanttoflyonA380 Thu 04-Oct-12 12:28:35

When I went in my bank last time. I was offered perchance protection card. I asked is it a credit card was told know. It is a card for buying things online. After I asked a load more question I decided it was a credit card. I had already said first off I didn't want a credit card..
I do think something SHOULD be done to stop them misleading custermers

discrete Wed 03-Oct-12 20:56:57

But having a credit card to buy things online with does not mean you have to take on debt.

I have had credit cards for the last 20 years or so and have never once incurred debt using them. I just pay them off in full every month (by direct debit, so I can't forget to do it) and that's the end of that. I spend exactly what I would spend using a debit card and no more, but get a bit more protection in case something goes wrong with an internet purchase.

HaveALittleFaith Wed 03-Oct-12 20:47:17

I don't think yabu. The cashier has a point about credit card security but to be honest, I understand that of you're in a tight budget you can either afford it in that moment or you can't. The delay before you can pay the credit card bill (even if you do it so you don't accrue interest) leaves me uncomfortable. I have one - I rarely use it.

I was in a similar position when I was a student on a bursary and had a mortgage. I managed but I couldn't take on any more. The bank kept sending me letters through offering me loans between £4-22k! In the end I rang them and said they should stop sending them until I was in full time employment because I was in no position to pay back such a loan! The letters did stop. Maybe you should ask them to put a note on your account? Or say oh by the way, before you offer, no I don't want s credit card! before they offer!

CelineMcBean Wed 03-Oct-12 20:41:00

I think OP you'll find it is the likes of Pay Day loan companies, Provident and the many other shameless bastards who exploit the poorest of our society. They do this exactly because the banks do NOT think those people are worthy of cheap credit. Better an unused or well managed credit card at 18% then a loan between 400-9000% surely?

I think you're ire is misplaced. Are you actually reading the posts on the thread because you don't seem to be responding but rather repeating the same thing? You can manage your money, you have been offered a product suitable for those who manage their money from an organisation that is heavily regulated. If you were unable to manage your money or the terms were similar to those of companies who actively target the poorest in our society then you would have a point. But in this case you are getting all worked up about a none issue.

CatONineTails Wed 03-Oct-12 20:02:12

I actually think its pretty rude to suggest I can't manage my money or am adding to the blame shifting! I can manage my money fine - its hard to make it stretch, but it is manageable mainly because I was taught by my parents how to do things like budget, and cook from scratch, and mend clothes, and so on. I don't have any debt. None. Because I understand that when you can hardly make ends meet on your income, borrowing money will just push the problem further down the line. Its not a solution that works long term.

Not everyone can manage that though - benefits are very low, they are paid at a level below what is considered by many to be the 'poverty line' for UK living standards.

Yes, people have to take responsibility for their own debt but do you really think that banks should be encouraging them to see taking on debt as a solution and telling them they would be 'better off' by doing so? Credit should not be suggested to the poorest in society so banks can get fat off the interest angry

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

Not the USA, I bet!

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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?

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.

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 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

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....

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....

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

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.

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!

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.

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