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New Credit Card Study

Nancy Trejos

Shopping for a credit card? just conducted a review of 20 cards — one platinum and one rewards card from the top 10 issuers. For this inaugural study, the consumer Web site looked at the terms and conditions for each card. Here are the key findings:

The average late fee typically ranged from a low of $20.70 to a high of $38.50.

The average fee for going over your limit was $32.

The average balance transfer fee was 3 percent with no cap on the fee amount.

Six out of 10 cards charge 3 percent on cash advances. Several of the top issuers, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, charged more.

Most issuers charged a fee ranging from $10 to $15 to make a payment by phone with one of their employees.

Seven out of 10 issuers charged for a copy of the borrower’s credit card statement, ranging from $3 to $10.

Grace periods ranged from 20 to 25 days.

I went through the study and found some other interesting tidbits.

All the issuers would change your interest rate if you violated any part of the credit card agreement but some were more forgiving than others. For example, Discover would not raise your rate until you paid late or went over your limit twice. All the others would raise your rate if you made one mistake.

American Express, Bank of America, Chase, First National Bank Omaha, and US Bank came right out and said they can change your annual percentage rate at any time for any reason. Citi would not raise rates unless you had violated the terms of the agreement. Citi would, however, review each account, and its rate, when the card expired "typically every two years."

The default interest rate, which is charged when a cardholder violates the terms of the agreement, ranged from 11 percent at USAA to 29.99 percent at four issuers: Chase, Citi, Discover and FNB Omaha.

President Obama has signed a law that would ban many industry practices, such as any time for any reason rate changes. That won’t go into effect until next February.

If you’d like to take a look at the study, click here.

By Nancy Trejos  |  June 30, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Credit Cards , Nancy Trejos  
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Next: Has Your Minimum Payment Increased?


PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, I am begging all of you "reporters" to always mention the consumer right to "OPT OUT" when a bank or credit card company changes a pre-existing agreement.

Chase Bank is presently dragging over a million customers into an economic sink hole simply because Chase Bank has changed terms and won't allow their customers to OPT OUT of the change in terms.

OPTING OUT should be as american as apple pie. It is the ONLY real protection a consumer and a citizen can have against the banking industry.

learn more at

Posted by: AlessandroMachi | July 1, 2009 3:57 AM | Report abuse

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