Does it seem like your mailbox – the snail mail one, that is – is more stuffed these days? Maybe it’s because of all those credit card solicitations.
Research firm Synovate Mail Monitor reports that U.S. households received 640.3 million credit card offers between April and June of this year. That’s an 83 percent increase over last year, when the recession and credit crunch left many banks leery of financing Americans’ freespending ways.
One year later, nearly 15 million Americans are still out of work and the economy remains on shaky ground. In addition, new credit card legislation has led to sweeping changes aimed at protecting credit card customers from unexpected fees and interest rate changes.
Still, banks appear to once again be eager to solicit your credit card business, and Synovate reports that Chase and Citibank are leading the mass mailings charge.
They’re even offering special deals like zero percent teaser rates to lure customers in — Synovate said introductory offers have increased by 71 percent.
Overall, however, credit card debt is the costliest it’s been in years. The Wall Street Journal, also citing Synovate, said the average interest rate on existing credit cards hit 14.7 percent in the second quarter of this year, up from 13.1 percent a year earlier.
It’s also not clear that recession-weary Americans are eager to bite on credit card deals. The recession appears to have left many rethinking their shopping habits, and working to pare down — rather than add to — how much money they owe a financial institution.
Total revolving debt, which is mostly made up of credit card debt, fell to $826.5 billion in June, according to the Federal Reserve. It’s been dropping steadily since September 2008, when it hit a high of $975.7 billion.
Have you seen more credit card offers lately?