The new federal rules that have been enacted over the past few years to cut down on unfair and abusive practices of card issuers seem to be having the desired effect – more consumes than ever are professing to feel that they are being treated fairly by their credit card company. Twelve percent of survey respondents indicated that they felt as if they were generally treated unfairly, as compared to 15% in 2010 and 22% in 2009. Additionally, more people are able to obtain lines of credit – card issuing companies only denied 14% of applicants, opposed to 24% in 2010. A total of 51% of survey participants indicated a sense of high satisfaction with their credit cards.
The Credit CARD Act, which was signed into law in 2009, can be credited in large part with the slight upswing of consumer credit card satisfaction. All provisions of the CARD Act are now in full effect.
“Things are looking rosier for credit-card holders,” said Noreen Perrotta the Finance Editor for Consumer Reports, according to PRNewswire.
“Consumers are paying down balances and facing fewer punitive actions by credit-card companies such as higher rates, late-payment fees, and canceled cards. But average interest rates on new cards are still up and you have to read the fine print of rewards programs,” Perrotta said.
The Consumer Reports Survey also revealed that consumers, on average, are carrying less credit card debt than in 2010. The data gathered by Consumer Reports showed a mean credit card debt balance per individual of $3,414, as opposed to last year`s number of $3,793. The survey was completed in July.
However, there were still 35% of respondents who claimed to have experienced at least one problem with their credit card and card-issuing company. These problems included higher interest rates, new fees such as annual fees, lower credit limits and reward program restrictions.
The best thing for consumers to do when applying for a new credit card is pick one that suits their individual spending habits. If they tend to regularly carry a balance, a rewards card may not be the best option as those types of cards typically have higher APR`s and finance charges than other cards.