Credit card market study

We are carrying out a market study on the credit card sector, one of the largest consumer credit markets we regulate. We have now published our final findings report. 

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. 

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.

We published our interim findings in November 2015, then reviewed feedback from stakeholders including industry and consumer groups.

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

Final findings report

Read our Credit card market study: final findings report

The final findings report included four annexes:

Press release: FCA publishes final findings of credit card market study

Our final findings show:

  • consumers shop around, switch and value the flexibility offered by credit cards
  • competition is focused on certain product features such as introductory promotional offers and rewards. There is less competitive pressure on interest rates outside of promotional offers and on other fees and charges
  • higher risk consumers have a more limited choice of products and providers and have concerns when shopping around for credit cards
  • new analysis we carried out increased our concern about credit card debt – we found 650,000 people had been in persistent debt for three years or more, and a further 750,000 people had been making systematic minimum repayments for that time

Remedies

In our final findings report we outline the package of remedies we are taking forward to address our concerns with the credit card market.

Next steps

We plan to publish further information on voluntary remedies and any rules we decide to propose later this year.