On July 26, 2016, the FCA published its final report outlining findings from its credit card market study. The FCA credit card market study was launched in November 2014. The purpose of the study was to analyze the credit card market and determine whether it is working in the interest of consumers and to develop remedies to improve the situation if needed. Interim findings were published in November 2015 with potential remedies mooted for certain issues such as the frequent withdrawal of firms’ promotional offers and the fees associated with a single month’s missed payment. The final report summarizes feedback received on the interim report and outlines the FCA’s package of remedies.

The FCA concluded that market competition works fairly well for most consumers, although it is working less well for higherrisk consumers as they have a limited choice of available products and providers.

Remedies include combinations of FCA rules, guidance and industry agreements. The FCA notes that wider work is being taken forward by the industry and government on open access to data and use of application programming interfaces to further open up access to account-level data from January 2018, which should make it easier for consumers to search with greater accuracy for products that match their individual circumstances. On higher-risk credit card issues, the FCA has concerns about the affordability assessments by certain firms, and will address these concerns through supervisory activity with the firms in question. The FCA intends to consult later in 2016 on borrowing and repayment measures to give consumers more control over their credit limits. The FCA also intends to consult on proposals for a rule requiring firms to identify early signs of debt problems and to intervene accordingly.

The report is available at: https://www.fca.org.uk/static/documents/market-studies/ms14-6-3-credit-card-market-study-finalfindings-report.pdf