LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–November 27, 2013
‘Rachel’ Robocallers Reach Settlement with the FTC
Two more people and four companies have agreed to settle charges in the “Rachel robocall” scheme, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The Rachel scam, which used other names as well, called people, often on the do-not call list, to offer lower interest rates on their credit cards. The six defendants agreed to pay a partially suspended $11.9 million judgment for charging illegal upfront fees during telemarketing calls in which they falsely claimed they could reduce the interest rate on consumers’ credit cards. Story by Alejandra Matos for the Star Tribune.
U.S. Retail Credit Card Issuance Continues to Grow
Total U.S. credit card balances rose 6.4% in October from a year earlier, with the total number of retail-issued cards reaching 183 million—the highest level since September of 2009, according to a report from Equifax. The credit reporting firm said total credit card balances exceeded $56 billion last month. The number of new credit card accounts opened from January through August rose 8.8% from the year-earlier period to 24.6 million–the highest level since 2008–while the total limit of new credit was up 12% at $46.6 billion. Bank-issued credit cards also saw growth, with the total limit of new credit issued this year through August growing 9.1% to $128.7 billion–a five-year high. Story by Tess Stynes for The Wall Street Journal.
Payday Lender to Pay $19 Million for RoboSigned Collections and Overcharged Service Members
Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took a big step toward reining in irresponsible, predatory lenders by taking its first enforcement action against a large payday loan operation accused of robo-signing court documents related to debt-collection lawsuits, illegally overcharging military service members and their families, and trying to cover these actions up by destroying documents before the CFPB could investigate. Story by Chris Morran for The Consumerist.
Ten Credit Card Tips to Better Manage Holiday Spending
We are approaching one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year. Nearly 140 million people plan to shop over the four-day Thanksgiving weekend according to the National Retail Federation. Last year, the average shopper spent $423 over that weekend. The holidays mean plenty of charges on your credit card. Before the shopping begins, make a budget for how much you will spend during the holidays and stick to it. Otherwise, you could be paying for Christmas 2013 long after the gifts are forgotten. Story by Bill Hardekopf for LowCards.com.
Black Friday Madness–It’s Not Always About the Deals
Black Friday isn’t the biggest shopping day of the year, in terms of revenue generated, but it’s certainly one of the most anticipated–and hectic. Despite all the hype about Black Friday savings, there’s a sense among some retail analysts that most people are driven to the stores by the social aspect of shopping this way. For some, this is tradition, a way to do some shopping and get closer to family or friends. For others, it’s a competitive event. Their goal is to score all the doorbuster deals they’re after. They’re
driven by the desire to get something–in this case a super-low price–that’s limited to a small group of customers. It’s what economists call “scarcity of opportunity.” Story by Herb Weisbaum for Today.
Credit Card Binge Leaves Many Brazilians Deep in Debt
In Brazil, credit has soared in the last 10 years and helped power the nation through the financial crisis, but high interest rates have led to climbing defaults. Over the last five years, the ratio of outstanding debt to gross domestic product jumped to 56% from 31%. But in a country where credit cards have annual interest rates of 120% or more, defaults have risen and credit expansion has slowed, particularly among the middle class and working poor. Story by Vincent Bevins for the Los Angeles Times.
LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report
Based on the 1,000+ cards in the LowCards.com Complete Credit Card Index, the average advertised APR for credit cards is 14.42 percent, identical to last week. Six months ago, the average was 14.27 percent. One year ago, the average was 14.31 percent.