Consumer Payment Card News

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If your mail is lighter these days, it’s probably due to fewer credit card solicitations. Direct mail credit card solicitations may have declined 17%, or by more than 750,000 pieces, last year. The decline may be driven by poor response which has declined from 0.7% in 2000 to 0.4% last year. This means that four years ago a credit card issuer could expect one card application from 143 mailed solicitations. Today it takes 250 direct mail solicitations to produce one application. MINTEL’s Comperemedia says that during November, the amount of time the introductory rate was applicable decreased compared to previous months and is more likely to be for six to seven months, compared to 12+ months as seen earlier in the year. Balance transfer offers continue to be prevalent as well, and some offers have rates that are applicable until the customer pays off the entire transferred balance. The interest rates on these balance transfers are higher, with the majority falling between 2.99 and 3.99%. Rates on life of balance offers have been lower over the past two months, falling to as low as 2.99, from up to 7.99%. Late fees increased over the past few months; 64% of all offers tracked in November had a late fee of $35 and 17% had a late fee of $39.

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