The lending code
The lending code is a voluntary code that sets standards of good lending practice for financial institutions to follow when dealing with customers within the UK. It provides valuable protection for you as a consumer and explains how financial institutions should deal with you day-to-day and in times of financial difficulty.
The code applies to a wide range of banking products and services, including credit cards.
With regards to cards and PINs, the 2011 code has the following to say:
General features of cards
We will only send you a card if you ask for one or to replace a card you already have.
If you do not recognise a card transaction that appears on your statement, we will give you more details if you ask us. In some cases, we will need you to give us confirmation or evidence that you have not authorised this transaction.
If we confirm a transaction is unauthorised, we will refund any interest charged, unless you have acted fraudulently or without gross negligence.
Your statement will show the rate of commission or charge (if any) we apply to foreign-currency card transactions.
We will give you your PIN separately from your card. We will not make your PIN known to anyone else.
We will tell you about how to choose and change your PIN.
We will tell you about alternatives to ‘chip & PIN’, which are available if you are unable to use a PIN because of a disability or medical condition.
Before you become a customer, we will give you the main features of the credit card in a summary box.
When you apply for a credit card, we will tell you how it works and give you the terms and conditions.
Before we give you a credit limit, we will assess whether we feel you will be able to repay it.
We may increase your credit limit on your credit card. We will give you notice if we do this. We will also explain clearly, that you can refuse the increase, and the ways in which you can do this. You can contact us at any time if you want to reduce your credit limit or opt out of having your credit card limit increased. You can ask us to increase your credit card limit. We will consider this when we have made the appropriate checks on your credit score. Sometimes, we may decide to reduce your credit card limit. We will tell you if we do this.
You will receive a monthly statement for your credit card, unless your account has a zero balance and has not been used. The monthly statement will include information about transactions (since the last statement date), any interest which applies, the minimum repayment and other useful information including the ‘allocation of payments’ (how we use your payment to reduce your balance).
We will make sure that your minimum repayment covers more than that month’s interest so that you are reducing the amount you need to repay, more each month.
We will warn you when an introductory promotional interest rate on your credit card is about to come to an end.
You have the opportunity to say you do not want to receive credit card cheques and we will let you know about any fees if you use these cheque, prior to doing so. You may not have the same level of protection when you use a credit card cheque as you do with a credit card. This information and other important details are included in the Summary Box, which comes with all credit card cheques.