19 May 2009

Credit Card Bottom Lines

The NYT:

Credit cards have long been a very good deal for people who pay their bills on time and in full. Even as card companies imposed punitive fees and penalties on those late with their payments, the best customers racked up cash-back rewards, frequent-flier miles and other perks in recent years.

Now Congress is moving to limit the penalties on riskier borrowers, who have become a prime source of billions of dollars in fee revenue for the industry. And to make up for lost income, the card companies are going after those people with sterling credit.

Banks are expected to look at reviving annual fees, curtailing cash-back and other rewards programs and charging interest immediately on a purchase instead of allowing a grace period of weeks, according to bank officials and trade groups.

I'm one of those people. And here's my message to the banks. If you cut back on cash back rewards and such, it'll only mean there will be no particular reason to choose your card over someone else's. If you charge annual fees or interest from Day 1, I tear up your card. Period. So better rethink that, because I'm not alone.

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