Robert Kiyosaki Blog

Financial Education Portal inspired by Robert Kiyosaki

#

Banks Get Picky in Doling Out Credit Cards

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

When Edward Miller recently applied for a Charles Schwab Corp. credit card, a company representative asked him to fax in copies of his bank-account statements to verify his net worth.

It was “a bit of a hassle,” says the 64-year-old retired economics and finance professor from Bethesda, Md. He complied and was eventually approved for the card with a $5,000 limit.

After years of mailing cards out to just about anybody, banks are suddenly freezing out all but the most creditworthy customers. Those who do get cards have to jump through more hoops, such as sending in copies of their pay stubs. And they’re being hit with higher rates and fees.

Banks always tighten credit standards in an economic slowdown. But the recently passed Credit Card Act of 2009 is forcing the industry to rewrite the play book it has used for years. The new legislation aims to limit fluctuating interest rates, ban some controversial practices and arm consumers with more information on their debts.

Banks have until February 2010 to comply with the act’s key provisions, although some parts of the law have earlier deadlines. Beginning in August, for example, issuers have to mail bills at least 21 days before the due date and provide at least 45 days’ notice before changing any significant terms on a card.

The result: Many banks are tightening things up now before many of the restrictions go into effect.

For consumers, the tougher underwriting standards by banks may seem like a pendulum shift back to an earlier era when credit cards sported annual fees and double-digit interest rates.

In recent years, issuers cast as wide a net as possible by offering credit to millions of customers, knowing they could always raise rates on those who turned out to be bad bets. That pricing flexibility helped firms rapidly expand their operations, as those with less-than-stellar credit many of whom carried a balance or paid late fees and penalty rates generated millions of dollars in revenue.

Now, the industry is scrambling to figure out who its new profitable customer is. “Without the ability to reprice customers, raise fees or rates, the old profitability calculation won’t apply,” says Alan Mattei, managing director at Novantas LLC, a bank consulting firm.

In recent months, banks including Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., have raised interest rates and fees, switched customers with fixed rates to variable ones, and dropped credit lines and closed accounts. Credit Suisse Group’s Moshe Orenbuch expects credit-card balances could shrink by 10% to 15% through 2012 as banks drop their teaser-rate offers and cut back on offering credit to riskier customers.

Charles Crawford of Grand Prairie, Texas, says that Bank of America raised the interest rate on his $19,000 balance to 23.2% from 12.2% starting with his June statement, citing his high balances. Mr. Crawford says the move nearly doubled his monthly finance charges to about $420 from about $220. “I feel so upset with them that I was thinking about not paying them,” says the 58-year-old engineer.

Excerpt from:
Banks Get Picky in Doling Out Credit Cards

Share and Enjoy


 

The Rich Dad Real Estate Summit 2009


 

How Deep Must You Dig to Pay the Mortgage?

Submit a Comment