Looks like new government regulations on credit cards have made Americans a little less disgruntled with their issuers.
A new survey of 1,258 consumers from Consumer Reports shows only 12 percent said their credit card companies treated them unfairly this year. That's down from 15 percent last year and 22 percent in 2009. Still, just more than half of those surveyed said they were "highly satisfied" with their credit cards.
The results come after major credit card reforms have been in effect for more than a year. Most of the changes brought about by the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, or Credit CARD Act, took effect in 2010. The law helped to improve consumer disclosures and eliminate some flagrant practices in the credit card industry, including double-cycle billing and universal default on existing balances.
The law stopped short of capping interest rates and fees that continue to plague consumers. Almost 1 in 3 consumers surveyed reported at least one credit card problem, including a new annual fee, higher interest rate, a lower credit limit or restrictions on rewards.
The survey also showed that more Americans are getting approved for a new card. Only 1 in 7 was denied a card this year, compared with almost 1 in 4 in 2010.
That jives with other recent stats.
A poll by Experian last month showed banks gave out 18 million credit cards in the first half of the year, marking a three-year high. Even those with poorer credit profiles got more credit cards. Creditors issued 5.4 million credit cards to subprime borrowers, up almost two-thirds from last year.
"Things are looking rosier for credit card holders," said Noreen Perrotta, the finance editor at Consumer Reports, in a press release. "Consumers are paying down balances and facing fewer punitive actions by credit card companies."
How is your credit card issuer treating you?
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