CardRatings.com Research Confirms Consumers' Worst Fears Concerning Credit Card Rate and Fee Hikes

CardRatings.com -- the most comprehensive free source for comparing credit card offers -- recently conducted an informal poll asking site visitors if their credit card rates have increased in the past six months. Eighty-six percent of respondents said yes, in line with site research showing that average interest rates have climbed to 14.89 percent over the past year.

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The reality of the situation leading up to the February 22 launch of the Credit CARD Act was worse than consumers had anticipated.

Little Rock, AR (PRWEB) March 10, 2010

An informal poll recently conducted by CardRatings.com -- the most comprehensive free source for comparing credit card offers -- found that 86 percent of respondents have experienced an increase in their credit card rates during the past six months. These results come in the wake of an August 2009CardRatings poll, where 80 percent of respondents said they expected their rates to climb over the next half-year due to upcoming credit card legislation.

"I find it interesting that an even higher percentage of adults actually saw rate increases on their cards than was initially anticipated,“ CardRatings.com founder and CEO Curtis Arnold said. "This tells me that consumers' worst fears about rate hikes not only came true, but that the reality of the situation leading up to the February 22 launch of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act was worse than consumers had anticipated."

Despite the high level of consumer distrust in the credit card industry during the past 12 months, Arnold notes that consumers have underestimated the inadvertent effects of the CARD Act, specifically those pertaining to rate hikes.

"I, too, as an expert, underestimated the wide range of unintended negative consequences," Arnold said. "One thing I did get right, though, is that average card rates would rise to almost 15 percent by the CARD Act's implementation date. I'm sure quite a few folks thought I was overshooting the mark on this and that I was overreacting. As it turns out, if anything, I was under-reacting!"

Research provided by CardRatings.com to the New York State Banking Department confirmed Arnold's prediction. At the end of 2009, the average credit card interest rate had reached 14.89 percent, up from 13.68 percent at the close of 2008. Other rates and fees that increased from the end of 2008 to the end of 2009 include, but are not limited to: the default rate, balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, and foreign transaction fees.

CardRatings.com has been educating consumers about credit cards since 1998 and has been featured by hundreds of media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, The New York Times, and The Today Show. Thanks to consumers, CardRatings.com has become the most comprehensive free source for comparing credit card offers and has helped over a million people find the best credit cards for their individual needs.

Curtis Arnold is available for interviews on this topic and others relative to the changing trends in the credit card industry.

Contact: Jessica Austin, 650.578.6880, jessica(at)cardratings(dot)com

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