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Americans are getting burned out on credit card solicitations as only one out of 200 pieces of card mail produces a credit card application. Meanwhile, the total number of credit card mailers sent out last year declined after many issuers abandoned the sub-prime market. According to Synovate’s Financial Services Practice, credit card mail volume declined to 4.89 billion offers for 2002 from 5.01 billion in 2001. The research firm says only 20% of the offers during the fourth quarter were received by households with annual incomes of less than $35,000, compared to 32% of offers targeting those same types of household during the fourth quarter of 2001. Synovate also found that the average APR dropped to 11.48% during the fourth quarter of 2002, compared to 13.77% the same time the year before, and over half of all offers were promoting APRs that were actually lower than 11%. Fifty-nine percent of all offers promoted a 0% introductory rate for balance transfers in the fourth quarter, up from 45% in the same period of 2001; and 45% of all offers featured a 0% introductory rate for purchases, which was up from 31% during the same time the year before. According to Mintel Comperemedia, first quarter 2003 credit card solicitations hit 915 million, compared to 965 million for 1Q/02, and 883 million for 1Q/01.

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