Credit card market study

Published: 03/11/2015     Last Modified: 04/12/2015

We are carrying out a market study on the credit card sector, one of the largest consumer credit markets we regulate. 

We have published our interim findings which found that in most of the market, competition is working fairly well for consumers.

Read our Credit card market study: interim report online

Download the printable version [PDF] (1MB)

Download the annexes for the interim report

Press release: Credit card competition working fairly well but concern for customers in long-term debt

Our market study

This is a major study of one of the largest areas of unsecured lending we regulate – there are around 30 million credit card holders in the UK.

We published the terms of reference for our credit card market study in November 2014. This outlined the scope of our market study. Since then, we have analysed  the credit card accounts of 34 million consumers over a five-year-period and surveyed around 40,000 consumers. You can find out further information on our research in our infographic.

Our interim findings

Our interim findings show:

  • Firms compete strongly for custom on some features, offer a range of products to meet consumers’ needs and there have been new entrants in the market in recent years
  • Consumers shop around, switch and value the flexibility offered by credit cards
  • We found firms were not targeting particular groups of consumers to cross-subsidise other groups
  • Consumers in default are unprofitable and firms are active in contacting consumers who miss payments and triggering forbearance at this point. However, consumers with persistent levels of debt or who make minimum payments are profitable, and firms do not routinely intervene to address this behaviour.

Our potential remedies

In our interim review we outline our early thinking on measures which could make the market work well for consumers.

You can read details of our potential remedies in our interim review.

Next steps

The next phase of our market study is to discuss our interim findings and potential remedies with stakeholders. We plan to publish our final report in Spring 2016, you can see further information on our credit card market study process in our infographic.

Please send your feedback to us by 8 January 2016 to creditcardmarketstudy@fca.org.uk.

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