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m-Payment: Mobile Phones Answer Credit Card Debt Problem
Source : 160 Characters

160 Characters

(8 July 2005)

A survey finds that using text messages would be a popular method to help control mounting credit card debt

An independent survey, commissioned by mobile payment technology provider Upaid, reveals that 77 per cent of British adults want to regain control of credit card debts by using SMS to authorise payment of varying amounts.

The survey is timely as the UK goverment recently announced plans for a new Consumer Credit Bill forcing credit card companies to better warn people of the risks of repaying only the minimum amount each month.

The research found that one in four people using direct debit to pay credit card bills find their debts mount-up because they automatically pay only the minimum amount each month. In fact, one in four British adults avoid paying by direct debit all together because they feel they lose control over their bank account.

The study revealed that one third of 18 to 64 year olds want a text message to remind them when a credit card bill payment is due, of which 62 per cent want to be able to reply to that text message to authorise payment for varying amounts. The figure is even higher in the more technology-savvy age group of 18 to 34 year olds, with half of all respondents wanting a text message reminder, of which seven in ten want to reply to instruct the payment amount. The survey indicates that three quarters of all UK adults believe this would give them more control over their finances.

According to the Treasury Select Committee, a credit card with a debt of 1,000 with an interest rate of 13.9 per cent being paid off by direct debit for the minimum amount of 2 per cent each month will take 19 years and cost 2,013 to clear.

Ashley Ward, CEO of Upaid, said: "Our survey shows that credit card users are aware that paying by the minimum amount can cause long term debt but they don't have a simple enough mechanism to adjust their payments each month. Most credit card companies take the problem of timely payment seriously and a number of major lenders are already considering a text message reminder and payment authorisation service."

Cofinoga Store Card

Earlier this year, French store card group, Cofinoga, launched the first mobile payment service for monthly credit card bills. The service uses Upaid's Text cheque(TM) application which sends a text message to remind the cardholder payment is due. The customer replies using a previously allocated password and indicates the payment amount to authorise the transfer of funds from an agreed bank account. The amount paid can vary from the minimum amount due up to the full balance on the store card account. Cofinoga cards are accepted at over 25,000 retail stores across France including premier department store Galeries Lafayette.

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