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Credit card offers up

By Leslie McFadden · Bankrate.com
Monday, May 10, 2010
Posted: 2 pm ET

Have you been seeing a taller stack of credit card offers in your mailbox lately? That might be because issuers have started to send out more offers, following a year of pullback.

A new study from Synovate, a global marketing research company, shows that issuers sent 481.3 million offers in the first quarter of 2010, a 29 percent year-over-year increase. This surge comes after a drought of credit card offers last year. The firm noted in a press release that 2009 had the lowest annual mail total since 1993. Fourth quarter results did show signs up improvement, though, when total mail volume climbed 46 percent over the third quarter.

The offers sent in 2010 were more likely to offer an introductory interest rate on purchases and come without an annual fee.

Less than a third of the card offers carried an annual fee, a fee feared to result from passage of the Credit CARD Act of 2009. Bankrate's 2010 Credit Card Fees Study also showed that few cards charge an annual fee.

Most offers provided an introductory rate for purchases -- 65 percent versus 58 percent a year ago -- but fewer offers today provided an introductory APR for balance transfers. Just over half did, compared to 66 percent last year.

Of course, you don't need to sift through junk mail to find a low-rate credit card or a decent cash-back card. You can still qualify for a credit card even if you opt out of receiving such solicitations. Use Bankrate.com to compare credit cards and apply online. To stop receiving credit card offers for five years (or permanently with a mail-in form), head to OptOutPrescreen.com.

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