CHARLIE WESTON PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR – 12 MARCH 2013
Bank of Ireland has withdrawn its low-interest rate Clear credit card.
Just before Christmas the bank hiked the interest rate charged for making purchases on the card by up to 4pc. But now it has decided that it will no longer offer the card.
Simon Moynihan of price comparison site Bonkers.ie said the move was part of a trend of lenders cutting back.
"This shows that less and less credit is being extended to consumers. The good value credit cards from the big banks are disappearing."
Customers who already have a Clear credit card will not be affected, but the card will no longer be available to new customers.
The card had an interest rate of 17.8pc for purchases made using it. Before Christmas the rate was 13.8pc.
"We withdrew Clear from sale on Friday following a detailed review of our credit card portfolio which has resulted in the consolidation of the products we offer," the Bank of Ireland spokeswoman said.
The bank offers four other cards.
The spokeswoman said the bank did not notify its customers about the move to withdraw the Clear card, as existing customers will not be affected.
Last month Bank of Ireland hiked the interest it charges on overdrafts and pushed up the cost of arranging one to €30.
Mr Moynihan said the best value credit card was now the AIB Click card with a rate of 13.6pc for purchases.
But the AIB Click credit card is only available to AIB customers with AIB internet banking, according to the AIB site.
Experts said it was becoming increasingly difficult to qualify for a credit card, with an estimated six out of 10 applications turned down.
Meanwhile, KBC Bank has bucked the trend of cutting interest rates on savings accounts with a new offering.
The bank said it would pay 3.5pc a year on its Regular Saver account. The minimum amount that can be saved is €100 a month and the maximum is €1,000. A direct debit from a current account has to be set up.