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AIB must enter the real world -- Credit card APR too high

15 April, 2004

Sinn Féin Dublin EU election candidate Mary Lou McDonald has called for AIB to "enter the real world", after news today that the bank charges the highest Annual Percentage Rate of interest on its classic credit card.

Research by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority into the 11 credit card companies operating here, revealed that the AIB's 18.9% APR tops the scale of interest rates, with some of the other banks charging as low as 14.9%. The study also found that AIB is also charging a high 20.68% on cash withdrawals, matched only by EBS.

Ms. McDonald said:

"These figures reveal just how far removed from reality AIB is. The levels of debt in this country are spiraling out of control. The information age, while having many positive aspects, unfortunately makes spending money all to easy. Credit cards may seem like an endless source of money, but as anyone who's ever had one will tell you, the bill at the end of the month can be a shock to the system.

"The debts incurred through credit cards are not helped by the exorbitant rates of interest placed on them by the likes of AIB. Today's news shows just how desperately we need a credit ombudsman to intervene in the interest rates that banks have free reign to set. Many banks have already committed to fixed interest rates on savings, in line, or just outside the EU average. In addition to that, mortgage interest rates are set a level far below that of credit cards. Greedy profiteering can be the only reason that the same logic is not applied to credit card rates.

"AIB needs to enter the real world. The people of this state already suffer from the excessive cost of living here. They don't need to be paying those levels of interest on top of the money they're being forced to spend in the first place. "ENDS

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