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Credit Card Industry

Volume 408: debated on Tuesday 1 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what (a) credit card industry representative bodies, (b) consumer bodies and (c) representatives of the Financial Services Authority her Department has met to discuss the Honesty Box. [116301]

The Honesty Box has been discussed at meetings organised by my officials. Representatives of organisations such as the British Bankers Association, the Finance and Leasing Association, the Association for Payment Clearing Services, the Consumers' Association and the Financial Services Authority have attended these meetings.I believe that the issue of transparency in the credit market constitutes a key element of the current review of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. As a result, I will be consulting later this year on proposals for simplifying the advertising regime for consumer credit and on standardising the form and content of credit agreements so that consumers receive key information in a clear and concise manner.In particular I will be consulting on some form of the "Honesty Boxes" to set out, in advertisements or application forms, the key applicable interest rates and charges, which I believe could be a key element of our proposals to increase transparency.