Nationwide call it a credit card promotion, we call it profiteering
Avid Bitterwallet reader Helen has been in touch about Nationwide's latest marketing campaign:
My friend couldn’t believe their latest VISA bill from Nationwide; there was a credit of £20 on it!
How wonderful! Except there was also a note saying they could only keep that £20 if they spent £1,000 on the card in the next month! If they were naughty and didn’t spend all that lovely dosh then the bank would take the £20 back next month.
Spectacular. A whole £20 is yours to spend, but only if you consider racking up a grand on your credit card in 30 days or less. The fact that the bank adds the credit automatically means there's then a fear of loss and so more inclination to consider spending. You would hope that nobody would ever consider so much additional spending for so little reward, but clearly enough people do that Nationwide consider these promotional mailshots worthwhile.
When her friends complained in writing, the bank apologised for the fact they "didn't like" that particular form of marketing and deducted the £20 credit from their account.
Nationwide must be aware that a percentage of customers will attempt to take advantage of this offer, and that they will lapse on their payments. For banks to be encouraging such extravagant and unnecessary spending in the current economic climate seems wholly irresponsible.
We've contacted Nationwide's press office for comment; in the meantime, should banks really be trying to suck consumers into more debt, or do you consider this an excellent numpty test for rooting out stupid people? Let us know in the comments, hot stuff.