Halifax and the Bank of Scotland (HBOS) are making changes to their credit card pricing structure that could affect their five million plastic holders.

The changes include giving each customer their own personal credit card rate, which will be applied equally to both direct purchases and to advances of cash. This rate will be added to the prevailing Bank of England (BoE) rate. This is different from the current system where you get charged for the level of card you hold (gold / platinum etc) as well as the transaction type.

When it comes into force after August this year, the rate will initially be based on the average interest rate charged to the customer between January and March this year plus the BoE base rate (currently 0.5%).

But, in the future, the 'personal rate' will be based on the client's payment history as well as their ongoing credit rating. This also includes their dealings with other companies within the Lloyds Banking Group, of which HBOS is a part.

The rates could also be changed on line with the company's running costs.

Some have seen this as a way for lenders to get more money in interest payments from card holders. Martyn Saville of Which? said in the Telegraph: "This seems like a cynical ploy to squeeze more interest out of HBOS customers."

According to 24:7 news about 200,000 people will see their rates rise but at a rate less than 2p for every £1,000 borrowed.

What customers are more likely to see now is a direct correlation between the bank rate and their borrowing costs, just like a tracker mortgage, albeit with less protection of their 'personal rate'.

But those that fall into difficulty will presumably end up with payment charges and an increased personal rate. A double whammy.

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