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Under-fire Capital One reacts to targeting criticism

LONDON - Credit card operator Capital One has denied specifically targeting young people with card offers, in the wake of criticism from MPs of its promotional material and the media furore over credit card companies' tactics.

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Capital One's European executive vice-president Fergus Brownlee appeared before a Commons Treasury Select Committee yesterday and was questioned about an unsolicited promotional offer for a Visa card that was sent to an 18-year-old man.

Norman Lamb MP said that the offer encouraged potential cardholders to pay back only the minimum repayment, which results in onerous interest charges. Brownlee promised the committee that the promotional material would be changed to warn of the costs of making minimum repayments.

When contacted, Capital One's head of media relations Richard Holmes said: "Contrary to a story in The Times, we do not under any circumstances target young people".

The committee will meet again this week to question executives from credit card providers including Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, MBNA and HSBC.

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