Although consumer credit is central to today's UK economy, the laws regulating the market were mostly established in the early 1970's. At that time, there was only one credit card available and the amount owed totalled [pound]32 million. Today, there are 1,300 credits cards available and the total level of personal debt owed amounts to [pound]49 billion. This White Paper contains proposals for reform of Britain's consumer credit legislation, in order to modernise the current regime and to promote innovation and market competition whilst also providing adequate levels of consumer protection, choice and information. It includes proposals to address unfair credit practices and promote greater market transparency, tackle the problems of illegal money lenders or 'loan sharks', further European-wide consumer credit provision, and develop a strategy to minimise levels of personal finance debt. This two volume set also contains a consultation paper with proposals for regulations on early settlement; consumer credit advertising; the form and content of credit agreements; APRs on credit cards; and on-line agreements. The deadline for responses is Monday 15th March 2004.
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