Credit cards become more consumer-friendly
In the wake of the crisis, banks have cut back drastically on credit card lending. In a Federal Reserve survey conducted October 2008, 60 percent of bank loan officers reported tightening standards on credit card lending, compared to just 28 percent the year before.
But while the pullback in credit card lending was hard on consumers, between the 2009 Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure, or CARD, Act and the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the aftermath of the financial crisis actually benefited them in several ways, says William McCracken, CEO of Synergistics Research Corp. in Atlanta.
"Since the crash occurred, there has been a number of regulations that, in general, have led to more consumer-friendly practices by credit card issuers -- greater disclosure, additional time to make payments, more notification when rates change," McCracken says.
The Fed's relentless quantitative easing also has provided an unexpected benefit -- lower interest rates.
"Consumers who tend to be revolvers when it comes to their credit card usage now are experiencing significantly lower rates than they would have 10 years ago, or prior to the crash. So it's, again, a more attractive product than it was pre-crash because of that," McCracken says.
Still, those rates are likely to rise once the Fed backs off its easing program, so watch out.