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Credit Card Offers Rebound in 4Q09

February 17, 2010

After a difficult year and a dramatic pullback, credit card issuers regained their footing in the fourth quarter of 2009 and began to mail more offers: US households received a total of 398.5 million credit card offers during the quarter, 46% more than the 272.5 million offers received in the previous quarter, according to data from Synovate Mail Monitor.

However, volumes are still fairly tepid compared with the 668.1 million offers mailed during the year-earlier quarter.

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An increase in mailings to the subprime market was responsible, to a great extent, for the surge in mail volume in 4Q09. The subprime segment had experienced considerable credit tightening following the recession and initial passage of the CARD Act, according to Synovate.

However, the marked increase in overall mail volume came at a price: The average purchase APR for the fourth quarter 2009 was 13.51%, the highest recorded by Synovate over the past five years.

Also, 35% of the credit card offers mailed in the fourth quarter carried an annual fee, the highest share recorded in the past decade.

About the data: Findings are from Synovate Mail Monitor, the direct mail tracking service from global market research firm Synovate.

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