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Chip and pin 'failing to curb consumer debt'


The introduction of chip and pin security has partly attributed to a rise in consumer debt, according to new research.

Research released today from uSwitch found that the popularity of chip and pin security has meant that it is now easier for people to overspend when using their credit cards.

It added that since the introduction of chip and pin, 11 per cent of people withdraw cash on their credit cards on a more regular basis.

Chip and pin became a mandatory requirement for debit and credit cards last year, with the intention of reducing card fraud.

However, vendors, retailers, debt managers and consumers alike may be disappointed with the research's findings, which show that people are spending more since the advent of the scheme.

Another side-effect of chip and pin security is that increased numbers of people are now using their credit cards for cash withdrawals.

About 6.6 million people draw an average of £809 on their credit cards each year, with £41 million in interest levied on these withdrawals.

Stephen Rose, from the Debt Advice Bureau, told the Scotsman: "If people are at the point where they are running out of money towards the end of the month then it is always tempting for them to use their credit card and worry about paying it off later.

"I'm not sure you can blame the rise in the use of chip and pin for that, because people have always had the option of paying with their credit card. However, it could be a contributing factor."

He added that the way "that banks treat their customers is certainly something that is in the public consciousness at the moment, particularly with the debate surrounding charges incurred by those who go slightly over their overdraft limit".

Mr Rose also stated that the Debt Advice Bureau is in favour of clearer information from banks with respect to charges for credit facilities.

The news follows contrasts with reports from payments association Apacs, which found that credit card fraud in general has dropped by five per cent.