The Checkout

An Emptier Mailbox

Nancy Trejos

Have you noticed that there are fewer credit card offers arriving in your mailbox lately?

If so, you're not alone.

According to global market research firm Synovate, which has an ongoing Mail Monitor survey, mailed credit card offers during the second quarter of 2008 were down 17 percent from the same time period last year. In fact, card mail volume was the lowest it's been since the fourth quarter of 2003, the survey found.

Andrew Davidson, vice president of Competitive Tracking Services for Synovate's Financial Services Group, attributes it to ongoing concerns about the economy and the exposure many card issuers have had to the mortgage meltdown.

It's the low-income and high-risk households that are feeling this credit crunch, the survey found. Fifty-two percent of households with incomes under $50,000 received an offer in the second quarter of this year, compared to 66 percent a year ago, Davidson said.

The issuers that have cut back the most are HSBC and Citigroup, with their mailed offers declining 54 percent and 45 percent, respectively, the survey found. For Citibank, it was the lowest quarter recorded in 10 years, according to the survey.

That said, those households that received offers were probably pleased with the interest rates they were given. According to the study, the mean APR during the second quarter was 11.36 percent, down from 12.91 percent a year ago.

And, Davidson pointed out, although there's been a slowdown in mailings, a whopping 1.06 billion households still received offers by mail.

"Despite the recent cutbacks, one billion is still a huge number of solicitations," Davidson said.

By Nancy Trejos |  August 12, 2008; 6:37 PM ET Nancy Trejos
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