How You and Your Credit Card Company Could Soon Be Friends Again
Back in May, the President signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act into law, which was intended to make the relationship between cardholders and issuers fairer, and to reduce the $15 billion a year that Americans pay in penalty fees.
Trouble is, full implementation of the law was delayed until February 2010. And some credit card companies appear to be using that delay to tilt the playing field in order to maintain their future profitability.
A New Era
Understandably, this approach hasn’t gone down well with consumers. But now there are signs that the credit card companies are recognizing this, and are reinventing themselves in more consumer-friendly ways.
Of course, you can’t expect them to become warm and cuddly overnight. But three new credit card company products may represent the shape of things to come.
Bank Americard Basic Visa Card
According to the bank’s press release, the Basic Visa credit card is going to offer the following key features:
- Same interest rate for all transactions. This includes purchases and cash advances, which makes it easy for customers to keep track of their interest rate at any given time.
- One interest rate. U.S. Prime plus a margin of 14 percent, which never changes for the life of the account. Rate increases and decreases only occur if the Prime Rate changes.
- No over-the-limit fee.
- Understandable disclosure. Easy- to-understand and single-page, it explains terms and conditions.
- One flat fee of $39 for late payments.
Blueprint isn’t a credit card. It’s a set of tools that help you manage your Chase cards better. And it’s intended to make it easier to reduce balances and avoid interest charges. The Chase press release that unveiled the new product describes the four principal tools:
- Full PaySM. Enables customers to decide which expenses they want to pay in full every month–items like groceries, gasoline, prescriptions–and those they want to set aside and avoid paying interest by paying them in full each month
- SplitSM. Provides customers with a way to better manage larger purchases like home improvement projects or a new appliance. They can select the number of payments or monthly payment amount that works for them. Chase does the math and makes it clear on each statement so they can stay on track to meet their goals
- Finish ItSM. Gives customers the flexibility to create a plan to pay down their current balance faster, which allows them to choose a goal date for pay-off. Chase does the math, calculating the monthly payments, sets up the plan, and charts progress toward achieving the payment goal on each monthly statement and online
- Track ItSM. Provides customers with a snapshot of all of their Chase card purchases. Customers can track their spending online by category whenever they want, not once a year like some card companies offer. Spending snapshots are available online daily, which allows customers to track their progress toward achieving goals in real time
Things Can Only Get Better
It may be too early to say that the credit card industry has seen the light. But the rest of us may just be witnessing a new dawn.
Disclaimer:The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.
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