Half of Brits feel they cannot ask credit card provider for help

Research shows more than half of people feel there is a stigma attached to asking their credit card provider for help if they fall into debt

Half of Brits feel they cannot ask credit card provider for help

The study, completed by outsourced customer contact specialist Echo Managed Services, surveyed 1,000 UK residents on their experiences, knowledge and attitudes to household arrears.

It found that 59 percent of customers attribute debt stigma to societal attitudes and their own feelings of shame, embarrassment or inadequacy. A further 36 percent blame the practices used by their credit card provider, while the remainder stated it was a combination of both factors.

Respondents who felt that their provider was at fault highlighted a tendency for advisers to be ‘offhand’ or ‘aggressive’ in their communication; often making assumptions about the customer’s background or why they had fallen into debt.

When asked whether customers felt valued by their provider throughout the debt recovery process, only a quarter (25 percent) said they did, while 60 percent said that they did not feel valued as a customer – a figure which has jumped up by 12 percent since similar research was last undertaken in 2016.

Monica Mackintosh, customer services director at Echo Managed Services, said: “Debt affects a huge cross-section of people, for many different reasons, so it’s crucial that credit card providers work hard to understand the issues of every single individual and help them to find a balanced resolution.

“The findings also highlight just how important it is for organisations to stand out as approachable and helpful. Ensuring all communications convey this is vital; across verbal and written contact, as well as the general tone of information available on a company’s website. Reflecting on current practice and being more customer-centric can help organisations to both minimise customer debt and its effect on their reputation.”