Sunday, August 22, 2010

Credit Cards

Credit card marketing to U.S. consumers has more than doubled in the past year, having skyrocketed to 1.1 billion offers in the second quarter of this year from just 419 million in the second quarter of 2009, reported 8/20/10. While elevated, these figures are still far off the 1.5 billion pieces mailed in the second quarter of 2008 and the nearly 2 billion pieces that mailed in the third quarter of 2007. The volume of card mail even retracted slightly from the 1.2 billion mailings delivered to consumers' mailboxes in the first quarter of 2010. Research firm Mintel Comperemedia said that 28 percent of offers for new cards carried an annual fee, down from 33 percent a year ago, while 56 percent of mail offers promoted an introductory APR for both balance transfers and purchases, up from 37 percent a year ago. Additional Mintel findings show that the longer the length of the introductory period, the more likely it is that the balance transfer fee will be 4-5 percent rather than the standard 3 percent. Rewards programs accounted for 80 percent of offers for the second quarter 2010 and the mean APR for variable rate offers declined to 13.79 percent from 14.21 percent in the previous quarter.