Xmas warning over store credit costs

Many so-called interest-free offers from departments stores charge interest rates of up to 27 per cent along with monthly fees as well, the Consumer Credit Legal Service warned. Manager Carolyn Bond said offers such as “pay nothing until 2006” were luring shoppers before Christmas. Shoppers who fail to pay off purchases in full before the end of the interest free period then become liable for interest right back to the purchase date. Providers of this expensive credit include GE Capital Finance through Myer and Harvey Norman, and David Jones, which runs its own credit operation. Store-branded credit cards are also a profitable sideline for retailers at similarly high interest rates, with David Jones earning one third of all its profit from its credit card business.