According to a new nationwide survey by Consumer Reports the new federal laws barring abusive practices by credit card companies have caused consumers to be happier with their credit cards now than they have been in several years.
The new federal laws govern things that are apparently important to consumers, mainly curbing fees and interest hikes.
The survey found that consumers saying their credit card companies treated them unfairly decreased by half from 22 percent in 2009 to 12 percent in 2011, in the two years since the credit card legislation passed.
“Consumers are paying down balances and facing fewer punitive actions by credit card companies such as higher rates, late-payment fees, and canceled cards” said Noreen Perrotta, finance editor for Consumer Reports in a press release.
More consumers are getting approved for credit cards in 2011 as compared to in previous years. Only 14 percent of consumers who applied for credit cards were denied in 2011, down from 24 percent in 2010.
But that doesn’t mean consumers are in a love fest with their credit card companies. The survey also showed 35 percent of consumers reported they had at least one credit card related problem such as a new annual fee, higher interest rate, decreased credit limit or cutbacks on rewards.
Consumers interested in lower rate credit cards may find one of the lowest interest rate credit cards in the nation being the Iberia Bank Visa Classic. There is no annual fee and a low introductory APR on balance transfers of 1.99% for your first 6 billing cycles.
Even with the protections of the 2009 Credit CARD Act, credit cards remained one of the lowest rated services Consumer Reports analyzes according to the press release. Only 51 percent of consumers reported being highly satisfied with their credit cards.
The other 49 percent of consumers who were not “highly satisfied” with their credit cards may have been among the ones who have experienced a drop in credit limits while at the same time seeing a spike in APR and additional fees; and, this also happens to consumers with excellent credit.
One promising result of the survey is that consumers seem to be taking credit card debt seriously as the survey showed consumers are paying down balances and carrying less credit card debt, with median balances of $3,414 down from $3,793 in 2010.
The full report on credit cards is available in the December 2011 issue of Consumer Reports on newsstands November 1st and available to subscribers of www.ConsumerReports.org.
Are you one of the consumers happier with your credit card company?