As a result, there is no interest paid whatsoever. Certainly if they go beyond that period, this government wants to ensure that the consumer knows clearly what the terms and conditions of that credit card are, and what the rates of interest going to be charged by that company are. If the consumer, knowing all the facts, decides to use the credit that is available through credit cards, then in those cases he or she knows what she or he is doing and can make that decision. The fact is that if you pay for your credit card within a period of 50 or 60 days, depending upon when you purchased and when your billing date is, no interest whatsoever is incurred.
Clearly, as the hon. member has pointed out, a great many individuals-40 per cent for Chargex and 50 per cent for Master Charge-are taking advantage of the cards and are using, effectively, the banks' money for a period of 45 to 60 days, paying no interest whatsoever.
I agree that beyond that period 24 per cent is a high rate that should not be paid by consumers if they have any alternatives whatsoever. I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that in the market place today there are consumer loans available from a great many institutions at much lower rates. We would encourage consumers to seek out those loans rather than using the credit card as a vehicle for financing their expenditures.
Subtopic: CONSUMER AFFAIRS-INCREASE IN INTEREST RATES OF DEPARTMENT STORES AND OIL COMPANIES-DETRIMENTAL EFFECT ON CONSUMERS