NEW YORK (MainStreet) – My, how times have changed.
Credit card companies are getting antsy as consumers get serious about managing debt, and the deals they’re starting to offer more “sweeteners” than when the card giants – and not the consumer – were in the driver’s seat. A study by the Boston Federal Reserve in April showed that Americans have cut back on their use of credit cards and now rely more on cash, and in response the deals are really mounting up.
According to the credit card research firm Synovate Mail Monitor, 58% of credit-card mailings included a cash-back offer, a rewards miles offer, a sign-up bonus or a free gift. The firm says that firms are even sending out blank checks for credit card cash advances – at 0% interest.
Says Anuj Shahani, director of competitive tracking services at Synovate, "Despite the uncertainty introduced by the CARD Act, new financial regulations, and other such legislative changes, we are seeing the credit card issuers get back to market, trying to entice consumers once again." Synovate says that JPMorgan Chase (Stock Quote: JPM) and Citibank (Stock Quote: C) have at least tripled their card mailings in 2010.
But it’s Discover (Stock Quote: DFS) that’s perhaps out with the best deal this month. The company is offering a $150 gift certificate and a 2% cash-back bonus when consumers sign up for the Discover More credit card.
The deal is especially attractive to business professionals who travel and eat out a lot – you get extra rewards points at restaurants and gas stations. Here’s a quick rundown of what you get with the new Discover card deal:
- Free $150 Restaurant.com gift certificate with first purchase.
- 2% cash back bonus for purchases at any gas station and any restaurant.
- Up to 1% unlimited cash back bonus on all other purchases.
- 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases for 12 months, then the Regular APR (11.99 – 20.99%).
Rate-wise, the More card offers a 0% introductory APR for 12 months from the date of your opening the account. After that, your rate will rise to 11.99% to 20.99%, depending on your credit health. The same rates apply to credit card balance transfer deals.
With credit card companies adding some sugar to the mix, consumers may be tempted to take the bait. As always, know your own financial limits and don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Unless of course, you need a good credit card deal. Then More just might be better.