The Return of Annual Fees
There’s some mixed news on the credit card front.
U.S. households are receiving far fewer credit card offers, which could be a good thing for those who could so easily fall into the debt trap. But for those receiving offers, the cards are increasingly coming with annual fees.
In the first quarter of this year, U.S, households received 372.4 million offers, a 67 percent drop from the same time period last year, according to Mail Monitor, the direct mail tracking service from market research firm Synovate. Twenty-seven percent of the cards carried an annual fee, up from 18 percent one year ago. And the mean annual fee is $74, Direct Mail found.
Credit card companies have been reeling from a record number of write-offs, which are debts that they have to give up on, making them leery of lending to riskier borrowers. Last month, President Obama signed a law that would ban many consumer-unfriendly industry practices, such as arbitrarily raising interest rates, starting in February. Card issuers have said the new law could force them to raise interest rates and charge annual fees on all future credit cards, regardless of how risky or not-so-risky a consumer is.
“As issuers continue to cut back offers and the mailbox becomes more superprime we are seeing a proportionately higher number of card offers with an annual fee,” said Andrew Davidson, Vice President of Competitive Tracking Services for Synovate’s Financial Services Group.
Now, more than ever, consumers have to be more vigilant when they get their credit card bills.
"Consumers must pay attention to the offers they receive to see if the card has an annual fee,” said Bill Hardekopf, chief executive of LowCards.com and co-author of The Credit Card Guidebook. “In addition, consumers need to look at the notices you receive in the mail or in your bill to see if your issuer has added, or even increased, an annual fee."
June 5, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories: Credit Cards , Nancy Trejos
Save & Share: Previous: Kids and Allowances
Next: The End of an Era: Frugality Replaces Conspicuous Consumption
Posted by: mssnatchquatch | June 5, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jnurbanski | June 10, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.