By Claire West
The New Year is fast approaching, with many Brits gearing up to make financial resolutions for 2013. Research by MoneySupermarket* has found credit card users have remained loyal to their card provider for a whopping six years on average.
The research by the UK's number one comparison site also reveals only nine per cent of credit card users plan to switch cards in the next six months, while a staggering 66 per cent stated it was unlikely they would to change to another provider. The longer a credit card user has held their card, the less likely they will switch; on average, for those who have had a card for 10-15 years, only 4 per cent are likely to switch in six months' time, compared to 26 per cent of those who have had their current credit card for only a year.
Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySupermarket.com, said: "Apathy certainly reigns with many credit card holders who are happy to languish on high interest rates with their existing provider. As a result, the tempting offers which will have initially swayed people to that credit card are likely to have changed or expired over time. Bank of England figures show the average credit card rate in the market is 17.32 per cent, up from 15.7 per cent in November 2006 so anyone holding a credit card for a longer period of time is certainly paying over the odds and are failing to take advantage of some of the best deals currently available in the market."
The research also revealed the main reasons why people have stayed loyal to their credit card provider. Over one in five of those staying loyal to their provider (22 per cent) said they hadn't thought about switching, while a further 16 per cent simply can't be bothered to switch. A quarter (26 per cent) maintain the reason for sticking with their current provider is down to good customer service, and a further 18 per cent do so because they trust their current provider more than others.
A recent MoneySupermarket poll found one in ten consumers plan to put Christmas spend on their credit or store card this year, something which could prove to be very costly if they haven't switched providers for a number of years. Switching your credit card could help you save a packet simply by searching for the most competitive deal. For example, for someone who has a £2,000 balance sitting on a card paying an average rate of 17.32 per cent**, switching to a market leading zero per cent balance transfer credit card with Barclaycard for 24 months could save them a substantial £423 in interest. For those who use their card for regular purchases, and don't pay the card balance off in full every month, switching to a zero per cent purchase card may be beneficial. For card users who pay their balance off in full every month, then a reward or cashback card may be more suitable such as the market leading American Express Platinum Cashback card which pays 5 per cent cashback for the first 3 months and 1.25 per cent thereafter.
Kevin Mountford continued: "While it's welcome news that people identify good customer service and trust as important factors for where they place their custom, staying loyal can prove a costly false economy. Loyalty doesn't always pay, and although consumers may not wish to switch credit cards on a regular basis, they should review their card from time to time to assess whether it still suits their needs and financial situation; otherwise they will fail to get the best value."