What is the score on the Co-op lower credit limit? | Money


I have just received a letter from my bank, the co-op, saying they are lowering the credit limit on my credit card from £5900 to £4150 on the grounds that I am not using the full limit regularly. It goes on to state that having an unused credit limit on a card can “negatively affect your credit score” and it will restore it if I wish. Is it correct to claim that having unused credit on a card can affect your credit score? RO, St Ives, Cambridgeshire

This seemed to us more like a bank trying to reduce its potential credit liabilities, than an attempt to help its customers. Banks have to cover all potential borrowings from their customers – at a cost – which is why many customers received letters like this after the credit crunch.

We asked credit reference agency Experian if there was much validity to the co-op’s claims and were directed to a blog post by its consumer affairs manager, James Jones. In it, he suggests that, far from having a negative effect, it’s much more likely to actually help your credit score. “Most lenders doing a credit check will be encouraged to see that another lender trusted you with a high credit limit.”

The co-op, which announced itself “like back” in recent weeks after its high-profile issues, told us the letter was aimed at highlighting this issue to certain customers who “consistently use a small proportion of their available credit with us” .

“We have already updated the letter as we accept that it may not have been clear, and we apologize for any confusion caused,” it says.

We welcome letters but cannot respond individually. Email us at consumer.champions@theguardian.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number


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