Home » Finance

Credit Cards Today

Jul 29, 2008
Despite the fact that interest rates are rising and the credit crunch is here there are still good reasons to use your credit card. Card issuers are still actively looking for new customers and those with good credit ratings can get competitive deals, you do not need to get into high rate deals.

Research shows that 0% balance transfers are one of the most popular features of cards and smart use of this facility enables you to beat rate increases. But as with any attractive offer, there may be downsides for some customers so read al the terms and conditions and understand everything about the card issuer's offer before you sign up.

Credit cards from the larger issuers typically have more competitive interest rates than those offered on store cards however some store cards are linked to special promotions and can be advantageous if your timing is right and the incentives suit your needs. Of course there's no benefit if the terms offered don't bring you any personal benefit. Deals that offer you extra discounts on additional purchases are not always a good idea unless you intended to buy more goods anyway. They are just a way of encouraging you to spend more than you originally set out to do.

Information from APACS shows that debit card usage is on the increase whereas credit card growth is less than inflation. Debit card growth is growing in many areas including, surprisingly, on-line purchases where it does not offer the protection of credit card purchase. 354 billion was spent on cards, debit and credit, in 2007 which made up 31% of total consumer spending in the UK. It is the growth in online transactions that seems to be fueling card spending.

As far as debt levels are concerned, borrowers seem to be heeding some of the warnings previously made about the state of borrowing in the UK, Experts warned that we were borrowing far too much and the rate of growth of that borrowing was a significant concern. However recent levels of borrowing on cards have stabilized, partly because more people have started to pay off their card debts and also because some borrowing is being switched to debit cards where there is no debt attached.

The availability of cash in the financial system may start to have an impact on credit levels offered with cards in the future. When the markets were awash with credit in recent years, card providers were happy to increase personal credit limit levels, hoping that customers would use them and generate more profits for the card companies. Now that the credit crunch has sucked much of that liquidity out of the system, lenders are more concerned about safer lending than they used to be.

Another turn of events to impact the credit card market has been the tendency of some card issuers to fine tune their customer base and make products less attractive to card holders who always pay off their monthly balances and hence generate less profit. One way card companies do this is being reducing available credit limits to within a few pounds of existing balances, thus preventing any further spending by the customer.

Also the acceptance criteria applied by card issuers has been tightened up in recent months in much the same way as it has by most loan and mortgage companies. Card applicants who last year would have been eligible for a new card or higher credit limits may now find their applications being rejected or at least being offered lower credit limits. A recent survey in the UK reported that over 3 million applications for new credit cards had been rejected over a 6 month period. That figure represents around 10 per cent of the total number of cards in operation.
About the Author
Michael Lennan writes about finance and money orientated matters for a number of popular websites. Read about the best credit cards and different credit card rewards here.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 141
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources