We were always told by our elders to avoid paying anything on the drip, and have the cash ready to pay up front.

However, with big purchases, cash flow and the allure of the latest offers, things like store cards can be an attractive prospect.

But are they really the straightforward solution to managing cash flow, as they seem to be?

According to critics, store cards are just another rip-off invention engineered to make shoppers spend more with money they don’t have and increase consumer debt.

And in a recent report, some store cards have been proven to triple the cost of the purchases.

When shoppers do not clear their balance in time, they are penalised. However, some retailers are being accused of not making this clear enough to customers.

It comes in the wake of Bank of England’s warning to retailers to make customers completely aware of the process of what happens when payments falls into arrears.

Store cards are increasingly being marketed for online purchases, as consumer numbers drop away from the high street.

According to the Finance & Leasing Association, UK store and online debt in the UK has risen by £500 million to £6.55 billion.

According to the This Is Money, the Financial Ombudsman Service had 1,640 complaints about catalogue debt, which includes buy now, pay later deals, last year — a 75 per cent rise on the previous year.

Retailers are being told that the language they are using in their small print is confusing, unclear and deliberately concealing key facts about potential penalties.

This means that if shoppers do not keep up to date with payment schedules, they are hit with backdated interest charges.

With individual debt spiralling out of control, big brands are being told to act with more responsibility when it comes to looking after the interests of their customers.


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