2002 Credit Card Survey

 


Table of Contents

Variable rates hit historic low

By Linda Sherry

The new National Credit Card Survey by Consumer Action (CA) takes a close look at 126 credit cards issued by 42 companies. Since the mid-1980s, the non-profit education and advocacy organization has conducted an annual review of credit card rates and terms in order to gauge industry trends and provide consumers with a comparison tool.

Key findings from this year’s survey:

  • Due to lower federal interest rate indexes, average variable rate annual percentage rates (APRs) have fallen by almost three and a half percentage points in the past year—but 29% of variable rate cards surveyed by CA have minimum APR policies that short-circuit the trend. Without these floors, the rates would have dropped by almost five percentage points.
  • This year shows that the one-time industry standard requiring cardholders to pay monthly minimum payments of 4% of the outstanding balance has gone the way of the dinosaur.
  • More issuers than ever will hit cardholders with late fees if payments are not received by the exact date due.
  • There has been a large jump in banks using risk-based pricing. CA found that 37% of surveyed institutions force applicants to apply for a card before letting them know the APR on their new card. Two years ago, CA found only 14% of surveyed issuers using this tactic.
  • Late fees have risen sharply, up 7% in just one year.
  • More issuers are charging currency conversion fees on purchases made in other countries—up to 4% of the amount.

Overall, CA’s surveyors found that customer service is slipping badly. A widespread lack of knowledge of even the basics and poor, sometimes rude and hostile attitudes made surveying more of a challenge this year. CA’s Linda Sherry, who led a team of surveyors including Sarah Hinds, Janice Kohn, Bernice Lawrence and Morena Vattuone, explained that the survey is conducted by calling companies’ toll-free phone numbers.

According to Sherry, most companies have two kinds of lines, providing service to existing customers and taking applications from potential customers.

Short tempers

“The customer service people tend to be more knowledgeable,” said Sherry, “but getting through to them can take some perseverance, since most of the companies now screen customer service lines by asking for your credit card number. Unfortunately, the representatives who staff the application lines have the fewest details about terms and conditions. We had one representative ask what we mean by a variable interest rate. Another short-tempered rep countered our question about late fees with the comment, ‘Most people don’t ask for this many details.’”

“We don’t understand why these employees aren’t given the training to provide the basic information people have a legal right to know under the federal Credit Card Disclosure Act,” said Sherry.

Plummeting prime

The prime rate was 9.00%-9.50% during last year’s survey, which was conducted during January 2001. During the current survey, done Dec. 12, 2001-Feb. 11, 2002, the prime rate was 4.75%—almost 5 percentage points lower. The lower prime rate is reflected in the average APR of all surveyed cards, 11.73%—3.44 percentage points below last year’s average of 15.16%.

Variable rate cards (85 cards, or 67%) again dominate the field and have significantly lower APRs this year due mostly to low interest rates. But even the downward movement of the prime rate does not result in lower rates for some cardholders—25 of the 85 surveyed variable-rate cards won’t budge below a given point because of minimum APR requirements.

Minimum APRs

Twenty-nine percent of the variable rate cards in this year’s survey have a minimum APR—known as a “floor”—that the rate will not go below, no matter how low the underlying index. The prime rate—the most widely used index—is at its lowest level in almost three decades, but customers of these issuers won’t reap the rewards. CA found that with the exception of Capital One, other Top Ten U.S. credit card issuers feature minimum APR pricing: Citibank, MBNA, Bank One, Chase Manhattan, Providian, Bank of America, Household, Fleet and Direct Merchants.

The rate floor results in added interest. For example, a Wells Fargo “premium” cardholder’s APR is frozen at 11.70%. If no floor were in effect, the cardholder’s interest rate would be 8.75%, because the variable interest rate on the card is based on the prime rate + 4.00%. If the cardholder has a $5,000 balance and pays $200 per month, she could save $219 in interest over the two years it will take her to pay off the balance if her rate was not frozen at 11.70%.

Cardholders whose APR is subject to a floor should be able to find a better rate elsewhere.

Variable rate adjustments

Seventy-eight percent (78%) of surveyed cards with variable APRs adjust monthly; 15% adjust quarterly. One card adjusted immediately (Union State Bank) while another adjusted every six months (First Consumers National Bank’s unsecured card). “The strangest one we found is U.S. Bank’s World Perks card, which adjusts monthly when interest rates increase and quarterly when rates fall,” said Sherry. “It’s a formula that certainly works on the bank’s behalf.”

Late fees

Late fees ranged from $10 (California Bank and Trust and Generations Bank) to $35 at many issuers. The majority of surveyed cards—72 or 57%—charge $29 late fees. CA found an unprecedented 10 cards with late fees of $34-$35 as well as 15 cards with a range of late fees between $15-$35 (these are applied based on the applicant’s credit history). In last year’s survey, only one issuer (Fleet Bank) had broken the $30 level. The average of all late fees this year is $27.82—a 7% jump from last year’s $26 average late fee. By comparison, late fees in CA’s survey a year ago had increased only 2% in the preceding year.

Seventy-two percent of issuers surveyed—up from 68% last year—said they would hit cardholders with a late fee if their payment was not received by the due date. Of the issuers granting a bit of slack, the period ranged from one day to 10 days.

Penalty APRs

If you don’t pay on time, late fees are not the only punishment you face. Almost three-quarters of all surveyed cards (74%) feature penalty rates (also known as default or delinquency rates) for customers who make one or more late payments. Last year, only 69% of surveyed issuers did this. This year, penalty rates found by CA range from 12% (Arkansas National Bank) to 29.49% (Direct Merchants Bank).

CA believes that the number of cards with penalty rates in the survey may even be higher.

“MBNA, the third largest issuer of credit cards in the U.S., won’t admit publicly to having a penalty rate,” said Sherry. “But we have heard from MBNA cardholders who have been hit with increases, so this is hard to believe.”

She noted that MBNA’s spokesperson, Jim Donohue, did not return two calls asking about penalty rates. This year’s survey contains 12 MBNA-issued cards, factoring in the company would mean that 84% of all surveyed cards carried the possibility of a penalty rate.

Since last year, card issuers have been required by federal law to divulge penalty rates, said Sherry. “This makes MBNA’s refusal to admit to penalty rate pricing incomprehensible and potentially illegal.”

Cash advance fees

Eighty-five of the surveyed cards (67%) charge cash advance fees of 3%-3.5% of the amount advanced, while 24 charge 2%-2.5% and 13 charge 4%. Household Bank charges 5% cash advance fees on its two surveyed cards. Generations Bank has a flat fee of $2 for each advance. Pulaski Bank & Trust is the only bank in the survey with no cash advance fee.

Cash advance APRs

Of the 126 surveyed cards, 78 (61.9%) have higher interest rates for cash advances. (This is a slight increase from last year’s survey, which found 60% of cards with higher cash advance APRs.) Cash advances begin accruing interest immediately, so the higher interest rates start accruing immediately—and even cardholders who pay in full each month will get hit with interest. Among surveyed issuers, cash advance APRs range from 12.95% (Simmons First National Bank) to 26.49% (Direct Merchants Bank’s Banco Popular Card). The average cash advance APR on surveyed cards is 19.27%, compared to the 11.73% average on purchases.

Minimum monthly payments

Of the 126 surveyed cards, 43% require cardholders to pay only a tiny 2% of their outstanding balance each month. “The industry standard was 4% for many years and none of the cards we surveyed require 4% minimum monthly payments. Low minimum monthly payments are designed to keep people in debt longer, so this is an unfortunate trend,” said Sherry.

Another 31 surveyed cards (25%) require minimum monthly payments of 2%-2.5%.

“Many people pay only what’s asked of them, despite the fact that a low minimum payment runs counter to their interests by insuring they will pay hundreds, if not thousands, more in finance charges over the years it takes them to pay off the balance,” concluded Sherry.

Introductory rates

Of the 43 surveyed issuers, 33 (77%) offered initially lower “teaser” APRs to new cardholders ranging from zero-interest deals up to 9.99%. The average introductory rate on purchases was 3.63% and the average for transferred balances was 3.95%. While most offers stay in effect six months, American Express offers a 9.99% rate on transferred balances until the balance is paid off, and Chase Manhattan Bank and Citibank have one-year introductory rates. (See “Introductory Rates” chart .)

Currency conversion fees

This is the second year CA has asked about foreign currency conversion fees, and as last year, many representatives cannot supply the answer, making it necessary to call back several times or ask to speak to a supervisor. The MasterCard and Visa networks take a 1% commission for purchases or cash advances abroad. But a number of issuers now tack on an additional conversion fee to overseas purchases. (See chart below.) Bank of America may be the only bank that breaks the fee out so customers know it’s there. “Most of the issuers just roll it into the exchange rate, which we consider misleading,” said Sherry.

2% — American Express
2% — Columbus Bank & Trust
2% — Fleet Bank
2% — Simmons First National
2% — Wells Fargo Bank
3% — Bank of America
3% — Bank One (and First USA Bank)
3% — Chase Manhattan Bank
3% — Citibank
3% — First National Bank of Omaha - Gold
3% — Household Bank
3% — Huntington Direct Bank
3% — People’s Bank
3% — Providian National Bank - Platinum
3% — US Bank
4% — Firstar Corporation

Risk-based APRs

Sixteen (37%) of surveyed institutions will not quote a firm APR until they have screened the applicant’s credit history.

With the increase in Internet marketing, issuers are taking a risk-based pricing approach to protect them from the unknown. The industry is moving in a direction where only direct-mailed, pre-approved applicants will get a firm APR quote before applying.

Surveyed issuers that employ this tactic include American Express, Bank of America, Bank One, Capital One, Chase Manhattan Bank, Citibank, Direct Merchants Bank, Firstar Corporation, Five Star Bank, Generations Bank, People’s Bank, Providian Bank, Sears National Bank, US Bank, USAA Federal Savings Bank and Wells Fargo Bank.

The failure to provide potential customers with a firm APR violates the spirit of the federal Credit Card Disclosure Act,” Sherry charged.

Low rate credit cards

Cards with annual fees Cards with no annual fees
APR Fee Bank APR Bank
Fixed Rates Fixed Rates
6.50% $35 or $50 Pulaski Bank & Trust (Standard/GoldCards) 8.90% Capital One (Platinum No Hassle Card)
7.92% $50 Arkansas National Bank 9.90% Capital One (Classic) and Generations Bank
8.95% $50 Simmons First National (Platinum Card) 9.99% American Express (Optima/Blue Cards)
9.90% $59 or $79 Capital One (Gold/MilesOne Platinum Cards) 10.00% First Internet Bank (Connect Select Cards)
12.00% $25 California Bank and Trust 10.95% Simmons First National (Gold Select Cards)
Variable Rates Variable Rates
4.75% $88 or $98 Wachovia Prime for Life (from Bank One) 5.90% Washington Mutual Bank (from Citibank)
8.00%/8.25% $37 or $45 Amalgamated Bank of Chicago 6.65% Chase Manhattan Bank (Universal Card)
8.74% $20/$40 US Bank 7.74% Bank of America (Classic Card)
10.25% $22 AmTrust Bank (Platinum Card) 7.90% Sears National Bank
10.25% $22 Ohio Savings Bank (Classic Variable Card) 8.40% EverBank (Platinum Card)

Introductory rates at time of survey

Key to chart

  • ** - Rate lasts 2- 4 months
  • ^ - Rate good through August, 2002
  • + - Rate lasts 5 - 6 months
  • * - Rate in effect until transfer is paid off
  • # - Rate lasts 9 months-1year
  • @ - Must trasnfer a balance
Credit Card Promotional Rate Rate for Transfers
Amalgamated Bank of Chicago 3.90% + @
American Express (AMEX) -Blue 0% + 9.99% *
AmEx - Delta SkyMiles 9.99% + 9.99% +
AmEx - Optima 0% + 9.99% *
AmTrust Bank 6.90% +
Bank of America - Alaska Airlines 5.99% +
Bank of America - America West 5.99% +
Bank of America - US Airways 5.99% +
Bank of America Classic Card 5.99% +
Bank One Platinum Visa 0% + @
Bank One - First USA Bank 0% + @
Bank One - GE Select Platinum 2.90% +
Bank One - Webster Bank 0% + 0% +
Centura Bank 4.90% **
Chase Manhattan Bank 1.99% #@
Chase - Continental Airlines 7.90% +
Chase - Shell Gasoline 5.99% +
Citibank - Associated Bank (AB) 0% +
Citibank - AB Traveler Miles 0% +
Citibank - AT&T Universal Card 2.90% # 2.90% #
Citibank - Citi Platinum Select 0% + @ 0% + @
Citibank - Mellon Bank 0% +
Citibank - Quicken Credit Card 0% +
Columbus Bank & Trust (CB&T) 3.90% +
CB&T - Juniper Bank 1.90% +
Direct Merchants - Banco Popular 2.90% +
Discover Bank - Discover Card 0% ^
Emigrant Savings Bank 5.90% +
Fidelity National Bank 6.90% +
First Consumers National Bank 6.90% +
First National Bank of Omaha 5.90% +
First Union National Bank 1.70% + @
First USA - Wachovia Bank 1.99% + 1.99% +
Firstar - Elan Card 5.99% +
Five Star Bank 0% + 5.90% +
Fleet Bank - Cash Rebate Visa 1.99% + @
Fleet Bank - Smart Visa 1.99% + @
Fleet Bank - Working Assets 1.99% +
Household Bank (HB) 0% + 0% +
HB - GM Rewards Card 2.90% +
HSBC Bank USA 3.90% +
Huntington Direct Bank 1.99% + @ 1.99% + @
M&I Bank 5.90% +
MBNA - Comerica Bank Card 3.90% + @
MBNA - LL Bean Card 2.70% + @
MBNA - Nature Conservancy 5.90% + @
MBNA Platinum Plus 5.90% + @
MBNA - PNC Bank 1.70% + @
MBNA Quantum 2.90% ** @
MBNA - Roslyn Savings Bank 5.90% + @
MBNA - SunTrust Bank 4.90% + @
MBNA - Union Planters Bank 3.90% + @
National City Bank 3.90% +
Ohio Savings Bank 6.90% +
People’s Bank 4.90% + 4.90% +
Providian - Getsmart 1.90% **
Sears National Bank 2.90% +
Union State Bank 7.90% # 7.90% #
US Bank 5.90% +
Wells Fargo Bank 3.99% - 5.99% + 3.99% - 5.99% +

An ‘affinity’ for environmental protection marks these cards

by Sarah Hinds

Many credit card companies offer co-branded cards that benefit charitable organizations. MBNA, which according to Cardweb.com is the second largest issuer of cards in the U.S., has thousands of co-branding relationships with organizations. Every time a customer uses an “affinity card” a small percentage of the sale goes to the recipient group.

Almost anyone can find a card that benefits a group they support. Another large issuer, Bank One’s First USA, offers cards co-branded by diverse organizations from the Air Force Association to the American Association of Retired People (AARP) to the National Geographic Society.

At the behest of our members, Consumer Action (CA) examined four credit cards that help fund environmental organizations. First USA offers the World Wildlife Fund and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society cards. The Nature Conservancy and The Audubon Society cards are offered by MBNA. While the terms on these cards aren’t any more charitable than usual, the cardholder might be satisfied by the fact that every time they use the card, the organization of their choice makes a little money.

The percentage of donated funds is tiny, often under one percent of the transaction. However, the groups say the money adds up nicely over time.

World Wildlife Fund gets 0.55% of each purchase, the Nature Conservancy 0.5%, Sea Shepherd 0.35% of quarterly retail sales and the Audubon Society 0.5% of each purchase or cash advance and $1 per new cardholder account.

Sandy Clough, assistant director of licensing at The Audubon Society, said the deal is free for charities. “The credit card has been very lucrative for our group. People can just go about their daily business and if they use the card, they’re contributing to our cause.”

Three of the cards we examined have variable rates—only the Audubon Society Card offered a fixed rate (12.99%). The average APR for purchases was 14.49%, compared to the 11.73% average rate on all cards CA surveyed this year.

CA’s Ken McEldowney points out that the higher-than-average APR is six-to-eight times the contributions made to the organizations. “If you don’t pay your balance in full every month, you are paying unnecessary interest when you use these cards.”

The affinity cards offer introductory rates—from 2.9% to 5.9%—for the first five to six months, but all require a balance transfer to get the teaser rate.

The World Wildlife Fund card and the Sea Shepherd card both have a penalty rate of 19.99%—your APR on purchases increases if your payment is late twice in six months. The Audubon Society also has a penalty rate, which varies by account.

All four cards charge a $29 fee for late payments and for going over the credit limit—the next-to-highest amount found in this year’s survey. The cash advance and balance transfers fees are average, 2%-3% for cash advances, with a minimum fee of $5 and a maximum fee ranging from no maximum to $50.

The World Wildlife Fund card itself is biodegradable. The “Eco Card” is made of a substance called BioPol which breaks down when it encounters moisture, soil or salt water. (No mermaids need apply.)

The groups CA spoke to are very positive about the funding stream. So if there is an environmental group or other charity close to your heart, it might be worth investigating whether it offers an affinity card.

Currency conversion fees targeted

Credit card currency conversion fees are getting a lot of attention these days as more than a dozen lawsuits nationwide take aim at Visa and MasterCard on the grounds that the fees they charge to convert overseas purchases violate federal antitrust and truth-in-lending laws.

Every time you use a credit card in a foreign country, Visa or MasterCard charges a 1% fee for converting the purchase or cash advance into U.S. dollars. (American Express, not part of the Visa-MasterCard network, charges its own fee.)

A class action lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court (California) argues that the fee violates truth-in-lending laws because it is “invisible” to consumers, since the fee is not listed separately in your credit card statement but instead rolled into the amount of the original purchase made in French francs, Mexican pesos or another foreign currency.

“The purpose of the Truth-in Lending Act is to permit consumers to know the cost of credit and to be able to compare terms between cards in an ‘apples-to-apples’ way,” said Jim Baum of Schrag & Baum, plaintiffs’ attorney in the California suit. “The fee imposed by Visa prevents the consumer from truly understanding the cost of using a credit card overseas.”

Visa and MasterCard maintain that they adequately disclose the fee in their cardholder agreement.

The California case goes to trial on May 13.

According to Consumer Action, many banks add an additional fee of 1%-3% of their own on top of the Visa-MasterCard fees. (For more on the fees, see the story on CA’s credit card survey starting on the first topic.)

Consumer Action's 2002 Credit Card Survey

Note: You are prohibited from using Consumer Action's name or any reference to its surveys in advertising or for any other commercial purpose.

Key:
APR - Annual Percentage Rate
(Var) - Variable interest rate
(Fix) - Fixed interest rate
* (Asterisk) - See note in
Additional Information column.
Definitions:
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): The finance charge expressed in terms of an annual figure, a percentage of the amount owed. APRs listed are for purchases—cash advances often carry a higher APR.

Grace Period:The number of days after the close of the last billing cycle in which you can pay off new bills without being charged interest—if there is no prior balance. Unless otherwise noted, cards have a 25-day grace period.
Notes:
• Survey conducted 12/15/01 through 2/8/02.
• Survey does not include introductory or promotional (teaser) rates. (See the chart "Introductory rates" for teaser rates at the time of the survey.)
• For variable rates, the APR may not reflect recent changes in the index, such as the Prime, Federal Discount rates or LIBOR. (The Prime Rate was 4.75% during this survey. Bankrate.com lists all current index rates.)

Amalgamated Bank of Chicago (800) 723-0303 • www.aboc.com


Standard Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 10.75% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 2.50%/$2.50 min./$35 max. Late fee: $25. Over limit fee: $20. APR is Prime + 6.00%.

Standard Plus Card

  • Annual Fee : $37
  • APR : 8.25% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 2.75%. Other terms same as above.

Gold Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 10.00% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 4.50%. Other terms same as above.

Gold Plus Card

  • Annual Fee : $45
  • APR : 7.25% (V)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 2.50%. Other terms same as above.

American Express (800) 223-2670 • http://americanexpress.com


"Blue" (800) 600-BLUE (2583)

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 9.99%-14.99%* (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 20 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. Not available in Iowa. *APR is based on applicant’s credit history.

Delta SkyMiles Card (800) SKYMILE

  • Annual Fee : $55, $85 or $135*
  • APR : 14.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min./$50 max. Annual fees: *The annual fee is waived or reduced for American Express cardholders: Classic Card (no fee); Gold Card ($30); Platinum Card ($80).Other terms same as above.

Optima Optima (800) 467-8462

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 9.99%-12.99%* (Fix)
  • Additional Information : All terms are the same as American Express Blue.

American Online Bankwww.apbank.com (Apply online)


Classic card

  • Annual Fee : $18
  • APR : 16.92% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. Late fee: $25. Over limit fee: $25. Not available in WI.

Gold Card

  • Annual Fee : $35*
  • APR : 13.92% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : *Fee waived for first year. Other terms same as above.

AmTrust Bank (888) 268-7878 • amtrust.com


Classic Variable

  • Annual Fee : $22
  • APR : 10.25% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 2%/$5 min./$25 max. Late fee: $25. Over limit fee: $25. APR is Prime + 3.75%.

Platinum Variable*

  • Annual Fee : $22
  • APR : 10.25% (Var)
  • Additional Information : All terms same as above. *Platinum Card comes with additional benefits—see web site for more information.

Classic Fixed

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 14.75% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : All terms same as above.

Platinum Fixed

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.99% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : All terms same as above.

Arkansas National Bank (888) 226-5262 • www.arknatl.com


  • Annual Fee : $50
  • APR : 7.92% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 2%/$5 min./$25 max. Late fee: $25. Over limit fee: $25. Applicants/cardholders are required to open a checking account and make automatic monthly payments

Bank of America (800) 944-0404 • www.bankofamerica.com


Classic Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 7.74%-17.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 20 days. Cash advance fee: 3%-4%/$3-$20 min/. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 2.99%-12.99%.

Alaska Airlines Classic Card

  • Annual Fee : $45
  • APR : 14.24% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 9.49%. Cardholders earn one Alaska Airline mile for every dollar of purchases. Other terms same as above.

Alaska Airlines Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee : $75
  • APR : 11.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 6.99%. Other terms same as above.

America West Classic Card

  • Annual Fee : $45
  • APR : 13.24% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 8.49%. Other terms same as above.

America West Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee : $75
  • APR : 11.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 6.99%. Other terms same as above.

US Airways Dividend Platinum

  • Annual Fee : $50-$90*
  • APR : 14.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 9.99%. Cardholders earn one US Airways mile for every dollar of purchases. *Annual fee varies if cardholder applies for Classic, Gold or Platinum.

Bank One(888) 221-9067 • bankone.com


Platinum Visa Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 13.99% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 20-25 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$10 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29.

First USA Bank - Classic Card(800) 955-9900 • www.firstusa.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.99%* (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee has $50 max. APR is Prime + 6.99%. *Minimum APR (floor) is 12.99%. Other terms same as above.

First USA Bank - Smart Visa

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 13.99% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 20-25 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min/$50 max. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29.

Southwest Airlines Rewards Classic (800) SWA-VISA • southwest.com

  • Annual Fee : $39
  • APR : 13.40% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 2%/$5 min. APR is Prime + 8.65%. Other terms same as above.

Southwest Airlines Rewards Platinum Card*

  • Annual Fee : $59
  • APR : 13.40% (Var)
  • Additional Information : *Platinum Card has higher credit limits—see website for details. All other terms same as above.

United Airlines College Card (800) 347-7887 • ual.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 14.65% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 20-25 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$10 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 9.90%. For college students only.

United Airlines Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee : $60
  • APR : 14.65% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Anyone may apply. All other terms same as above.

Wachovia Low Rate Card (877) 309-4921 • wachovia.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 8.90% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 4%/$5 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 4.90%.

Wachovia Prime for Life

  • Annual Fee : $88 or $98
  • APR : 4.75% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime Rate. Other terms same as above.

GE Select Platinum(888) 738-3115 • www.ge.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 9.99%-15.99% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 20-25 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$10 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 5.99%-8.99%.

Webster Bank Platinum Visa(800) 347-7887 • websterbank.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 10.97%* (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 20-25 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min./$50 max. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 4.40%. *Minimum APR (floor) is 10.97%.

California Bank and Trust (800) 356-4536 • calbanktrust.com


Classic Card

  • Annual Fee : $18
  • APR : 16.90% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 28 days. Cash advance fee: 2%/$3 min. Late fee: $10. Over limit fee: $10.

Gold Card

  • Annual Fee : $25*
  • APR : 12.00% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : All terms same as above. *Annual fee is waived for the first year.

Capital One (800) 548-4593 • capitalone.com


Classic Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 9.90%-18.90%* (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. Late fee: $25-$29. Over limit fee: $25-$29. *APR is based on applicant’s credit history.

Gold Card

  • Annual Fee : $59
  • APR : 9.90%-18.90%* (Fix)
  • Additional Information : All terms same as above. *APR is based on applicant’s credit history

MilesOne Platinum Card (888) 226-7769

  • Annual Fee : $19
  • APR : 9.90% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. Cardholders earn one airline mile (can be used on major airlines) for each $1 in purchases. Other terms same as above.

Platinum No Hassle Card (800) 548-4593

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 8.90% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Terms same as above.

Centura Bank (800) 236-8872 • centura.com


No Fee Classic

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.24% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3.5%/$5 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 7.49%.

Gold

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 11.24% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 6.49%. Other terms same as above.

Chase Manhattan Bank (800) 724-7819 • chase.com


Standard Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 9.24% or 11.24%* (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 22 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 4.49% or 6.49%. *The lower APR applies if cardholders have a balance of $2,500 or more.

Gold/Platinum Universal

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 6.65% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 1.65%. Other terms same as above.

Continental Visa Classic (800) 245-9850

  • Annual Fee : $45
  • APR : 14.15% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 9.40%. Other terms same as above.

Shell Platinum Card (800) 373-3427

  • Annual Fee : $20
  • APR : 11.24%* or 13.24% (Var)
  • Additional Information : *The lower APR applies if cardholders have a balance of $2,500 or more. Cardholders earn free Shell gasoline. Other terms same as above.

Citibank (888) 766-2484 • citibank.com


American Airlines (AA) Aadvantage Standard Card

  • Annual Fee : $50
  • APR : 14.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 20-25 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min./$60 max. Late fee: $15-$35. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 9.99%.

AA Aadvantage Gold Card

  • Annual Fee : $85
  • APR : 14.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Annual mileage allowance is higher on AA Aadvantage Gold Card. Other terms the same as above.

Associated Bank (800) 472-7708 • assocbank.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 8.65% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 20-25 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min./$35 max. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 3.90%.

Associated Traveler Miles

  • Annual Fee : $39
  • APR : 10.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 5.99%. Other terms same as above.

Associated Bank - Washington Mutual Bank Card (800) 382-3334 • wamu.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 5.90%-28.00% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. Late fee: $29-$35. Over limit fee: $29-$35. APR is Prime + 1.15%-23.25%.

Associated Bank Classic (800) 842-2348 • associatedbank.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 16.49% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. Late fee: $35. Over limit fee: $35. APR is Prime + 11.74%.

Associated Bank Platinum

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.49% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 7.74%. Other terms same as above.

Associates Bank Standard

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 22.49%* (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 4%/$5 min. APR is Prime + 16.99%. *Minimum APR (floor) is 22.49%.

AT&T Universal Card (800) 423-4343 • universalcard.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 10.65% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 25-30 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. Late fee: $15-$35. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 5.90%.

Citi Platinum Select (800) 456-4277 • citibank.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 10.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 20-25 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min./$50 max. Late fee: $15-$35. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 5.99%.

Mellon Bank Standard (800) 774-2173 • mellon.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 14.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 20-25 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 9.99%.

Mellon Bank Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 10.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 5.99%.Other terms same as above.

Quicken Card (800) 442-4939 • quickencard.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 10.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 25 days. APR is Prime + 5.99%. Other terms same as above.

Columbus Bank & Trust (800) 543-8227 • columbusbankandtrust.com


Classic Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.65% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$10 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 7.90%.

Columbus Bank & Trust Gold Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 10.65% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 5.90%. Other terms same as above.

Columbus Bank & Trust Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 8.65% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 3.90%. Other terms same as above.

Juniper Bank (888) 232-0780 • juniper.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 9.99% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 5.24%. Other terms same as above.

Direct Merchants Bank (888) 276-0444 • bancopopular.com


Banco Popular Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 11.49% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 4%/$4 min. Late fee: $34. Over limit fee: $34. APR is Prime + 5.49%.

Banco Popular #2

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 16.49% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 10.49%. Other terms same as above.

Banco Popular #3

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 21.49% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 15.49%. Other terms same as above.

Discover Bank (800) 347-2683 • discovercard.com


Discover Classic

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 7.99%.

Discover Platinum*

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance APR is lower (20.99%) on Platinum Card. Other terms same as above.

EverBank (888) 882-3837 • everbank.com


Visa Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 8.40%* (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 2.5%/$2.50 min. Late fee: $25. Over limit fee: $20. APR is Prime + 1.90%. *Minimum APR (floor) is 8.40%.

Fidelity National Bank (800) 753-2900 • fidelitynational.com


Classic Visa

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 13.65% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 23 days. Cash advance fee: 4%/$5 min. Late fee: $25. Over limit fee: $25. APR is Prime + 8.90%.

Gold Visa

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 11.65% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 6.90%. Other terms same as above.

First Consumers National Bank (800) 876-3262 • fcnb.com


  • Annual Fee : $20
  • APR : 18.50%* (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 30 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. Late fee: $35. Over limit fee: $35. APR is Prime + 7.40%. *Minimum APR (floor) is 18.50%.

First Internet Bank (888) 873-3424 • firstib.com


Connect Classic

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.00% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 2%/$10 max. Late fee: $15.50. Over limit fee: $20.

Connect Select

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 10.00% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : No grace period. Other terms same as above.

First National Bank of Omaha (800) 688-7070 • firstbankcardcenter.com


Gold Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 13.99%* (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$10 min. Late fee: $29-$35. Over limit fee: $35. APR is LIBOR (London Interbank Offering Rate) + 11.00%. *Minimum APR (floor) is 13.99%.

Emigrant Savings Gold Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 13.99% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is LIBOR + 10.00%. Other terms same as above.

Emigrant Premier Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 15.99% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is LIBOR + 12.00%. Minimum APR (floor) is 15.99%. Other terms same as above.

First Union National Bank (800) 377-3404 • firstunion.com


Preferred Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 10.99% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min/$40 max. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29.

Firstar Corporation (800) 347-7827 • elancard.com


  • Annual Fee : $20*
  • APR : 10.74%-14.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. Late fee: $27-$35. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 5.99%-9.99%. *Annual fee waived with purchase.

Elan Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 8.65%-14.74% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 3.99%-9.99%. Other terms same as above.

Elan Platinum Travel Card

  • Annual Fee : $55
  • APR : 14.74% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Cardholders earn one airline mile for each $1 in purchases. New cardholders receive a bonus of 2,500 miles. Other terms same as above.

Five Star Bank (888) 277-0444 • afbabank.com


  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 11.40%-17.40%* (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 2%/$2 min./$50 max. Late fee: $20. Over limit fee: $15. APR is Prime + 2.90%-8.90%. *APR is based on applicant’s credit.

Fleet Bank (800) 225-5353 • fleet.com


Titanium Cash Rebate* Visa

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 13.99% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: At least 20 days. Cash advance fee: 4%/$5 min. Late fee: $35. Over limit fee: $29. APR is LIBOR + 11.025%. *Annual rebate of .25%-1% on total qualifying purchases.

Titanium Smart Visa

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 11.99%* (Var)
  • Additional Information : PR is LIBOR + 10.025%. Other terms same as above. *APR for Fleet banking customers is 10.99% (Var).

Working Assets Card (800) 537-3777 • workingassets.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 14.99% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is LIBOR + 12.025%. Other terms same as above. The Working Assets Card donates a percentage of cardholder revenues to charity.

Generations Bank (877) 788-3520 • generationsbank.com


  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 9.90%-21.90%* (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: $2. Late fee: $10. Over limit fee: $10. *APR is based on applicant’s credit history and will decrease by 3% after one year of on-time payments.

Household Bank (800) 846-2273 • hbcard.com


GM Rewards* Card gmcard.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 16.90% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 5%. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 9.99%. *Cardholders earn a 5% rebate good toward purchase/lease or new GM vehicle.

Orchard Bank Classichbcard.com

  • Annual Fee : $49-$79
  • APR : 18.90% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$4 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 9.90%. Minimum APR (floor) is 18.90%.

Household Bank Platinum Card (800) 477-6000 • hbcard.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 13.90% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: At least 20 days. Cash advance fee: 5%. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 7.40%. Minimum APR (floor) is 13.90%.

HSBC Bank USA (800) 975-4722 • us.hsbc.com


  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 14.65% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 30 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$3 min. Late fee: $25. Over limit fee: $25. APR is Prime + 9.90%.

Huntington Direct Bank (800) 480-2265 • huntington.com


Classic Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 14.49% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: At least 22 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 9.49%.

Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.49% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 7.49%. Other terms same as above.

M&I Bank (800) 642-2657 • mibank.com


Classic Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.65% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 2.50%/$2.50 min./$10 max. Late fee: $18. Over limit fee: $15. APR is Prime + 7.90%.

Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 10.65% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 5.90%. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. Other terms same as above.

MBNA America Bank Central Carolina Bank (800) 422-2226 • ccbonline.com


  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.99% (Fix)*
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. ($40 for balance transfers only.) Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. *Rates may change with 15 days notice.

Comerica Bank Card (800) 292-1300 • comerica.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.99% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Terms same as above.

LL Bean Card (800) 932-2775 • llbean.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 14.99% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Terms same as above.

Nature Conservancy Card (800) 932-2775 • mbna.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 13.15% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 8.40%. Other terms same as above.

MBNA Platinum Plus Card (800) 932-2775 • mbna.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.99% (Fix)*
  • Additional Information : Terms same as above.

PNC Bank Card (800) 545-7899

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.99% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Terms same as above.

Quantum Card (800) 343-3246 mbna.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 13.99% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : No over limit fee. High credit limit card (minimum $10,000). Applicants must have excellent credit. Other terms same as above.

Quantum Miles Card

  • Annual Fee : $75
  • APR : 13.99% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Cardholders earn one airline mile for each $1 of purchases. Other terms same as above.

Roslyn Savings Bank Card (800) 545-7899 • roslyn.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.15% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. ($40 max. on balance transfers only.) Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 7.48%.

SunTrust Bank Card (800) 932-2775 • suntrust.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 13.99% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. ($40 max. on balance transfers only.) Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29.

SunTrust Miles Card

  • Annual Fee : $35
  • APR : 13.99% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Cardholders earn one airline mile for each $1 of purchases. Other terms same as above.

Union Planters Bank Card (800) 545-7899 • unionplanters.com

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.99% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Terms same as above.

Metropolitan Bank & Trust (800) 837-6058 • metrobankandtrust.com


  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 13.90% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 2%/$10 min. Late fee: $20. Over limit fee: $20.

National City Bank (800) 558-8472 • No web site


Classic Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.24% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$3 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 7.49%.

Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 11.24% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 6.49%. Other terms same as above.

Ohio Savings Bank (800) 987-6446 • ohiosavings.com


Classic Variable Card

  • Annual Fee : $22
  • APR : 10.25% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 2%/$5 min./$25 max. Late fee: $25. Over limit fee: $25. APR is Prime + 3.75%.

Fixed Rate Classic Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 14.75% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Fixed-rate APR. Other terms same as above.

Fixed Rate Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 12.99% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Fixed-rate APR. Other terms same as above.

People’s Bank (877) 525-9248 • peoples.com


Long Island Sound Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 16.90% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29.

People’s Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 13.99%-19.80%* (Fix)
  • Additional Information : *Rates based on applicant’s credit history. Other terms same as above.

Providian National Bank (Apply on Internet) getsmart.com


Getsmart Classic Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 23.99% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : No grace period. Cash advance fee: 3-5%/$5 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR based on applicant’s credit history. Not available in WI.

Getsmart Gold Prestige Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 16.99% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Terms same as above. APR is Prime + 11.99%.

Getsmart Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 9.99% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Terms same as above. APR is Prime + 4.99%.

Pulaski Bank & Trust Standard Card (800) 980-2265 • pulaskibank.com


  • Annual Fee : $35
  • APR : 6.50% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : No cash advance fee. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29.

Pulaski Gold Card*

  • Annual Fee : $50
  • APR : 6.50% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Terms same as above. *Gold Card has more benefits; see web site.

Sears National Bank (800) 347-8480 • searscard.com


  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 7.90%-19.90%* (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 28 days. Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min./$35 max. Late fee: $29. No over limit fee. APR is Prime + 2.90%-14.90%. *APR based on cardholder’s credit history.

Simmons First National (800) 272-2102 • simmonsfirst.com


Standard

  • Annual Fee : $35*
  • APR : 12.95% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. *$25 annual fee for Arkansas residents.

Gold Select Card

  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 10.95% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Other terms same as above.

Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee : $50
  • APR : 8.95% (Fix)
  • Additional Information : Other terms same as above.

Union State Bank (800) 887-8775 • unionstate.com


  • Annual Fee : $12
  • APR : 11.65% (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 2%/$2 min./$10 max. Late fee: $20. Over limit fee: $25. APR is Prime + 6.90%. Internet applications accepted nationwide; phone applications limited to CT, NJ and NY residents.

US Bank (800) 285-8585 • usbank.com


  • Annual Fee : $20-$40*
  • APR : 8.74%-14.74%** (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%/$5 min. Late fee: $29-$35. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 3.99%-9.99%. *Fee waived with one purchase per year. **APR based on cardholder’s credit history.

World Perks (Northwest Airlines) (800) NWA-VISA

  • Annual Fee : $55 or $90*
  • APR : 15.25% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 9.75%. *$55 fee for standard card; $90 for gold or “signature” cards (latter have $25 maximum on cash advance fees.) Cardholders earn one Northwest Airlines mile for each $1 in purchases. Other terms the same as US Bank.

USAA Federal Savings Bank (800) 922-9092 • usaa.com (Web site for cardholders only.)


  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 10.00%,12.50% or 18.00%* (Var)
  • Additional Information : Cash advance fee: 3%. Late fee: $25. No over limit fee. APR is Prime + 3.90%, 5.90% or 9.90%. *APR based on cardholder’s credit history.

Wells Fargo Bank (800) 642-4720 • wellsfargo.com


  • Annual Fee : None
  • APR : 11.70%, 15.10% or 17.10%* (Var)
  • Additional Information : Grace period: 20-25 days. Cash advance fee: 4%/$3 min. Late fee: $29. Over limit fee: $29. APR is Prime + 4.00%, 7.40%, 9.40%. *APR is based on applicant’s credit history.

Stageline Platinum Card

  • Annual Fee : $39*
  • APR : 11.70% (Var)
  • Additional Information : APR is Prime + 4.00%. *Annual fee will be waived through 2002. Other terms the same as above. Minimum APR (floor) is 11.70%.

CA gauges consumers’ attitudes about their finances during current economic slowdown

A nationwide survey of U.S. residents conducted for Consumer Action’s Money Wi$e program reveals key insights into adults’ financial behavior during this time of economic uncertainty. Money Wi$e—an educational partnership between Consumer Action and Capital One—is designed to provide consumers with the information they need to start developing a plan for tracking their spending and saving more money.

The survey of U.S. residents 18 and over was conducted in January by International Communications Research.

Tighten purse strings

  • Fifty-seven percent of respondents report they are spending money more conservatively in 2002 than in 2001.
  • Among different age groups, spending patterns differ. Seventy-five percent of respondents ages 35 to 44 report that they are spending more conservatively this year compared to last, while only 37% of respondents 65 and older claim to be spending more conservatively this year.
  • Twenty-three percent of respondents are cutting back on deposits to savings or retirement accounts.

Cut back on leisure activities

  • Top areas where Americans are cutting back on spending include clothing or appliances (78%), dining out (75%), traveling (73%) and spending on entertainment such as movies (65%).
  • Age and income level play a role in how people handle their money :
    • 1% of respondents ages 55 to 64 have cut back on purchasing clothes or appliances, compared to 67% of respondents ages 18 to 34.
    • 88% of respondents with an annual household income of less than $25,000 a year have cut back on dining out, compared to 64% of those with incomes of $50,000 to $75,000.
    • 1% of respondents with an annual household income of less than $25,000 a year have cut back on vacations and travel, compared to 58% of respondents with incomes of $75,000 a year or more.

Moonlighting makes ‘cents’

  • Sixty-six percent of respondents say they would take a second job to make ends meet in the face of financial difficulties.
  • Younger respondents are more willing to take a second job than older ones. Seventy-nine percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 say they would take a second job to stay afloat, com-pared to 65% of those aged 45 to 54.
  • Seventy-four percent of respondents say they would not tap into retirement accounts in order to make ends meet in the face of financial challenge.

Setting aside savings

  • Fifty-nine percent report having emergency funds set aside in case they lose their jobs.
  • Sixty-five percent of male respondents report having emergency funds set aside, compared to 54% of female respondents.
  • One-in-four people surveyed feel that they could get by for over a year without a job, because of the emergency funds they have set aside.
  • Four out of five people surveyed who have not specifically set aside emergency funds feel that they could get by without a job for fewer than three months.

Regional variations

  • Sixty-two percent of respondents from the Western states claim to be spending more conservatively in 2002 than in 2001, followed by those in the North (60%), the South (55%) and the Central region (55%).
  • If facing financial challenges, 76% of respondents from the Northeast and Western states say they would take a second job, compared to 59% of respondents from the South and central U.S.
  • Financial preparedness for a possible layoff differs across the country. The following statistics show those who have set aside emergency funds in case they get laid off:
    • 65% of respondents from the West.
    • 51% of those from the South.
    • 62% of respondents from the Northeast.
    • 64% from the Central region of the U.S.

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