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Supporting service personnel

The card payments industry aims to support and help fulfil the aspirations of the Government’s Armed Forces Covenant, which principally sets out that Service Personnel should face no disadvantage, compared to other citizens, in respect of the provision of public and commercial services.

UK Cards has, alongside other trade associations across both the secured and unsecured lending sectors and credit reference agencies, worked with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in order to address two main areas of concern:

Firstly, that it can be very difficult for those based overseas, and who may relocate on a very regular basis, to establish a credit record, due to the technical difficulties associated with matching credit data to an address.

Secondly, there was a need to consider what additional guidance was required to help Service Personnel have a better awareness of things they need to think about when choosing, applying for and managing various types of credit facilities.

The data matching issues are technically complex and discussions are ongoing between the MoD, the Post Office and the credit reference agencies, with a view to identifying ways to ensure the process is as efficient as possible, while helping those serving overseas to have the best possible opportunity to establish, and then maintain, a track record in repaying credit.

On the transparency side, the industry has prepared some ‘top tips’, which are designed to provide Service Personnel with practical help in navigating through what can be quite complex processes. The latest version of the guidance was developed to include, at the specific request of the MoD, some focussed tips for the large numbers of Personnel returning to the UK from Germany. The ‘top tips’ for both secured and unsecured credit can be found on the Government’s website:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-top-tips-for-service-personnel

UK Cards is committed to an ongoing dialogue with the MoD. We also want to continue working with government and other partners to identify additional opportunities to support and assist those men and women who serve our nation overseas.

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