Barclaycard has sent a letter to one of their customers to indicate their credit card limit will increase by over 40%. This was an entirely unwelcome increase that was not requested by the customer. It is thought this may be just one of a wider batch of letters sent to a number of customers as part of a review of customer accounts.
The letters do give an option to opt out by texting KEEP followed by a 12-digit number (so not making it hard for customers at all!) or by phoning Barclaycard on 0800 015 1626. Sadly, they do not provide an email or postal alternative for those who like to have a written record of communications.
Automatically opting customers into unsolicited credit limit increases and relying them to take proactive action to opt out is highly irresponsible behaviour by Barclaycard.
Some customers may not be able to afford the repayments on higher levels of borrowing or may be tempted to get into debt due to the increased availability of credit. Fraudsters could use a stolen card or cloned details to steal a larger amount … and there have been instances of financial institutions being reluctant to pay back money that was stolen.
The responsible route that Barclaycard should have taken is to offer customers a higher credit limit and allow them to opt in to that increase if they want it.
Are we back to the bad old days of irresponsible lending in order to boost profit margins? If that’s the case, next we’ll probably see the return of huge bonus incentives for sales staff & self-certified mortgages!