Credit Cards

Minimum finance charges are assessed when a consumer borrows money with a credit card but the normal finance charge falls below an arbitrary minimum. From the report:

In 2001, the minimum finance charge for 7 of the Top 8 issuers was $0.50. By 2009, most issuers charged a dollar or more as their minimum finance charge, with the highest being $2.00. Currently, they average $1.28.6 Borrowers pay more than $430 million annually as a result of minimum finance charges and that figure is rising as these charges are increased.
Chase and Bank of America said they had not increased minimum finance charges this year. A Capitol One spokeswoman said the bank "increased cash advance fees in 2008 to 3% or $10 (up from 3% or $5)."

Variable-rate floors allow adjustable interest rates to go up but never down. CRL reports that while none of the top eight issuers used rate floors five years ago, two of them currently use variable-rate floors that prevent rates from going below the rate provided when you sign up for an account.

None of the issuers that responded to Huff Post said they used variable-rate floors.

The report cites increasingly stingy penalty fee policies. "Tiered" late fee structures are designed to charge penalty fees proportionate to the size of the balance when a payment is missed. But the proportions have changed drastically. Top issuers introduced tiered late fee structures in 2002; a person with a balance over $1,200, say, would be fined $35 for missing a payment, while a person with a balance over $150 would be charged $39.

Since then, top issuers -- including Bank of America, Discover, and Capitol One -- lowered the uppermost tier to about $250. (Chase said only that it had not recently changed its fee tiers.) The top tier is applied to 87 percent of accounts.

Five credit card issuers have introduced inactivity fees or account management fees, but none of the top eight issuers have done so. However, Bloomberg reported last week that Bank of America has started a "fee test" with annual fees ranging from $29 to $99 for 1/2 a percent of consumer cardholders. Spokeswoman Betty Riess wrote, "This is a test to help us gain a better understanding of the value customers place on the card."

International transaction fees applied when a currency is exchanged:

In 2004, the majority of the Top 8 issuers did not charge an international transaction fee. In 2009 three-quarters of the top issuers charge this fee to most of their accounts. The size of the fee has also increased. In 2004, most of the issuers who charged this fee had a fee of 2%. Today most issuers charge 3%. This cannot be accounted for by inflation since it is a percentage of purchase activity, and that purchase activity level will already change to account for inflation.
Balance transfer fees for cash advances or balances transferred from one card to another:

According to data from Mintel Comperemedia, in the second quarter of 2008, 47% of balance transfer offers had no ceiling on the fee. Just a year later, 76% of balance transfer offers had no ceiling on the fee. Over that same time period, the number of balance transfer offers with no fee charged declined from 19% to 11%. At the same time, minimum fees have been rising for both cash advances and balance transfers, with the average balance transfer floor more than doubling over the last 5 years.
Bank of America increased its transaction fee from 3 percent to 4 percent over the summer, with a minimum fee of $10. A Chase spokesman said the bank had also changed its balance transfer fee earlier this year. "We disclose balance transfer fees on our offers and the fee may be as much as 5 percent," he wrote. Capitol One's balance transfer fees have remained at 3 percent. Discover reported that its balance transfer fees vary from card to card between 3 percent and 5 percent and that its cash advance rate recently switched from a fixed to a variable rate.

Bank of America said in a statement that this year the bank voluntarily decided not to raise interest rates on consumer credit cards (unless the cardholder is late twice in a year).

"We've also introduced a Basic card with one interest rate for all transactions for the life of the account and are in the process of mailing out a one-page 'clarity commitment' to our 40 million credit card customers, which is a concise summary of a cardholder's rates, fees and payment information," wrote a spokeswoman.

Credit Cards

Credit card companies will have an easy time switching to new ways of assessing fees on their customers, according to a new report by the Center for Responsible Lending. The report documents several practices that the Credit CARD Act does not prohibit. According to CRL, it's just a matter of time before they proliferate.

"When bad products are allowed to flourish, it becomes a race to the bottom as they crowd out good products," said CRL's Kathleen Day. And switching costs make it unlikely that bank customers will go to the trouble of uprooting their accounts for another bank.

"Bankers know that you basically have to hit your customer with a 2x4 before they'll really leave, because it is such a hassle," Day said.

Of the practices described in its report, CRL highlights the "pick a rate" interest rate. Come February, fixed-rate credit cards will be truly fixed -- arbitrary hikes will be prohibited. But most credit cards feature rates that adjust according to the prime rate on a specific day within a billing cycle. With the "pick a rate" method, on the other hand, the cardholder's interest rate is determined by the highest prime rate on any given day in the previous three months, resulting in an annualized rate that CRL estimates is three-tenths of a percentage point higher, on average.

The Center reports that about one-quarter of credit card accounts feature "pick a rate" interest rates, resulting in a total extra cost to consumers of $720 million per year. "This cost could reach $2.5 billion per year if the practice becomes the industry standard," says the report, which adds that a few medium-size card issuers have long used "pick a rate" and that top issuers have just started to catch on.

The Huffington Post surveyed the eight largest credit card issuers -- JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, American Express, Capitol One, Discover, Wells Fargo, and HSBC -- about the practices described in the report. Discover, Capitol One, Bank of America, and Chase provided answers; HSBC declined to comment.

MSc Business Management

The University of Wales Master of Science programmes at Greenwich School of Management offer a range of disciplines in the functional areas of Management including, Human Resource Management, Accounting & Finance, Marketing and Business Management. These programmes are available in both Full and Part time modes.
Our MSc Degree specialising in Business Management is designed for those students who wish to develop a general management career in the public, private, charitable and nongovernmental organisations. Students who pursue this degree will benefit from an eclectic mix of both strategic and functional management disciplines. On completion of this degree students will be in a position to seek management roles in a wide range of organisational environments.
Structure of the programme
Programme members complete six 20 credit modules and a 60 credit project as follows:

» Strategic Planning and Policy Formulation (20 Credits)
» Managing Information (20 Credits)
» Managing People (20 Credits)
» Managing Finance (20 Credits)
» Managing Markets (20 Credits)
» Research Methodology and Dissertation Planning (20 Credits)
» The MSc Research Project (60 Credits)
All 20 credit modules, except for the Research Methodology and Dissertation Planning module will typically require a work assignment of approximately 3,000 words which will contribute 50% of the total marks for the module, and a two hour written examination or case study which contributes a further 50% of the module mark. However, varying methods of assessment strategy are employed across the modules. The Research Methodology and Dissertation Planning module requires a detailed dissertation proposal. The Project module requires a submission of a research dissertation of between 15,000 and 20,000 words.
To be eligible for graduation and the award of MSc Business Management course members must gain 180 credits. Course Members are normally required to obtain a minimum of 50 per cent in each module in order to qualify for the award of Master of Science (Pass). An MSc with Distinction may be awarded where a course member’s average mark across the modules is 70 per cent or more.

Postgraduate Programmes

We offer a range of full and part time postgraduate programmes to allow students from all walks of life, and from all organisational, business and educational backgrounds, to gain worthwhile qualifications and experience and prepare or develop a successful career in management.
The postgraduate programmes at GSoM are designed to be flexible and help students obtain a respected qualification in a relaxed and supportive environment. A Master degree or indeed a Doctoral qualification will allow you to become an effective and respected manager or leader in today’s competitive business world.
Our affiliations with the University of Plymouth and the University of Wales allow us to provide outstanding internationally recognised qualifications studied one of the most attractive and historical parts of London: Greenwich.
For more information on postgraduate study options available at Greenwich School of Management please click on one of the links below:
University of Plymouth Postgraduate Programmes

  • Master of Business Administration
    • MBA Strategic Management Pathway
    • MBA Financial Management Pathway
    • MBA Human Resource Management Pathway
    • MBA Marketing Pathway
  • Executive Master of Business Administration
    • Executive MBA Management Pathway
    • Executive MBA Health Services Management Pathway
  • Master of Science
    • MSc Oil and Gas Management Pathway
    • MSc Leading & Managing in Healthcare Organisations Pathway
    • MSc Procurement Management

BBA Application procedure

Entry requirements
The minimum entry requirement for the BBA programme is the equivalent of a US High School Diploma, i.e. 5 UK GCSEs at Grade C or above, or 5 UK GCE 'O' levels, or equivalent overseas qualifications. Proficiency in spoken and written English is also a requirement.
Visa requirements
The minimum requirement for a UK student visa is 15 hours per week of daytime study. International students are reminded that they must comply with Home Office Regulations, particularly with regard to attendance. Full attendance on the BBA Programme fulfils this requirement. Absence due to illness must be supported by a medical certificate.
Visa renewal
Greenwich School of Management is under obligation to provide records of students' attendance and progress to the Home Office. Failure to attend lectures and examinations may jeopardise students' educational status and eligibility for visa renewal.
How to make an application
To make an application you must send us the following information:

  1. Your completed GSoM Application Form - Application forms are available in your prospectus pack or you can click here to complete the form online. If you need any help or advice before completing the application form please write to or telephone the School and speak to a counsellor who will advise you.
  2. The GSoM International Student Declaration Form - If you require a Student Visa to study in the UK you will be required to complete this form. Click here to download a copy of the International Student Declaration Form.
  3. Copies of your qualifications as listed on your application form.
  4. Your CV / Resume detailing your educational and professional achievements.
  5. A Reference from a place of study or an employer. - References must be on letterhead paper, signed and dated by your referee.
  6. A photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport. - For example front cover, personal details page and any pages indicating relevant visas or migration stamps.
  7. The Application Fee of £130. - This can be paid by cheque or postal order made payable to ‘Greenwich School of Management Ltd’. Credit / Debit Card, or by Bank Transfer (click here for the GSoM account details). The application fee is entirely refundable should you not be accepted.

Send the above to the Admissions Department at GSoM either by post or email To email your application, scan and attach your documentation and arrange the application fee payment as above. If you wish you can submit an application in person.