MADISON, Wis. (1/3/12)--CardRatings.com
recently offered advice from experts on what consumers can expect in 2012 from credit card issuers.
- While lenders and issuers maintain strict underwriting standards, they will not be as strict as in recent years, according to John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at smartcredit.com. Credit scores have risen for many consumers, and one result is that banks have increased their offers of credit.
- Rewards cards will remain the most popular type of card. Banks want deeper, product-driven relationships--especially checking accounts--with customers, according to Dennis Moroney, research director at Tower Group. For that reason, the 0% balance transfer offer is making a comeback, he said.
- Card holders will be rewarded with cash. Capital One's Cash MasterCard set the standard with 1% cash back on every purchase for the first year. On the first anniversary of the card activation, the customer gets a 50% bonus on everything earned in the previous 12 months.
- Travel and airline perks will remain popular. High-fee cards will offset their costs by covering foreign transaction fees, baggage fees and offering priority boarding according to Curtis Arnold, founder of CardRatings.com. Banks lost many customers to credit unions in 2011, Ulzheimer added. These perks make banks look more attractive.
- Debit reward programs are likely a thing of the past. The negative publicity banks received over proposed debit card fees in 2011 have moved more people to credit cards, and debit reward programs are a casualty of that migration, said Arnold. Look for more debit-credit duo cards, Moroney said.
- Chip and pin cards are gaining momentum, Moroney said. Chips protect against card-present fraud, he added, and online security is not a concern--as it is with mobile banking. Ulzheimer told CardRatings.com he doesn't think the mobile banking market will take off as some predict, but card issuers still must find a way to market their brands via mobile devices.