Wary Customers Cautious Of Increased Credit Card Offers

Amy Lee
Huffington Post

Though banks are again offering credit cards to risky borrowers, not everyone is biting.

“I will never, ever have another credit card,” Carole Carroll, a New Yorker in her fifties working in finance, said. “It’s either I have the cash in my hand or I’m moving back in with my mother.”

Carole, and her husband Don, were $88,000 in debt before they entered a debt management program and managed to climb clear. But like millions of Americans with less than stellar borrowing history, the Carrolls are still being targeted by credit card companies.

Credit card offers to risky borrowers are surging, according to a report by the New York Times, which found that HSBC, Citigroup, and Discover all mailed out about ten times as many credit card offers this year compared to last year, while Capital One’s rate rose to 22 million, a fiftyfold increase.

Approximately 17% of those offers will arrive in the mailboxes of people with damaged credit, up from the 2009 low of 7%, according to the New York Times. And consumers are responding: 4% of this group have sent in applications, 10 times the typical response rate.

Even when Carrolls were struggling with debt, the credit card offers never ceased. “It was funny because I’d walk in the door with credit offers in the mail from downstairs and there’d be a message on the machine saying, ‘Where’s our money?'”

The Carrolls took a familiar route to financial hardship. Gastric bypass surgeries for both of them, double hip replacement for Carole, job loss on both of their parts, and other ordinary misfortunes led them into over-reliance on credit. Instead of languishing under their debt, they went to Greenpath Debt Solutions and embarked on a budget plan that shaved off their outstanding balance over the next three and a half years.

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