While consumer advocacy groups rejoiced over the introduction of the Credit CARD Act that they felt was a great step forward in the protection of the rights of credit card customers, some went were quick to point out that perhaps not everything was as rosy as it seemed. They wondered if the credit card companies would get fed up with all the restrictions placed on their ability to make some money at their business and take the direct route to lining their pockets – raise credit card interest rates for everyone, all around, right away. Right before the CARD Act actually came into force, the credit card companies went into an indecent rush to raise their fees and rates as much as they could – something they knew they wouldn't be allowed to do once the law came into effect.
Banks like Citibank and Bank of America raised their interest rates by 3 to 4 points in one fell swoop. The Wall Street Journal has found the same – most big banks around the country have raised their credit card rates so much, things have never been this high for at least 10 years now, they say. The prime rate, the number that every bank card rate is pegged to, is now so far removed from the average credit card rate charged these days that it's never been this way in at least a quarter-century. It's a shame though that as much as the news reports like to talk about the crushing hikes in credit card rates, no one ever ewants to alert the consumer about the best credit card rate offers there still are in the nooks and crannies of the banking industry .
That's right, there still is some use looking hard for the best bank card rate – those that actually come to you at around 6% rate – which, if you think about it, is less than half of what the major name brand credit cards charge . There are no TV and magazine ads that push these; There are no large newspaper ads of these cards next to some Hollywood star. These aren't promoted as exciting offers; These are, in fact, plain-vanilla cards that have nothing to offer but reasonableness. Everyone knows that reasonableness isn't really marketable. These banks haven't been cutting spending limits, they haven't been tightening the screws on their lending standards. They are well run bank card programs from professionally managed banks, and they are exactly the kind of product that you need if you are the average person. Let's take a look at some of these offerings.
Let's start with a bank that's somewhat well-known in the south east of the country – Iberia Bank. They issue a Visa Classic card that charges as little as 7.25%; their Visa Select Card charges an unbelievable 0% for anything up to one year. Can you beat that? Actually you can. There are credit unions, ones like the Arkansas Federal Credit Union that offers a credit card at 6%. There is a credit union that offers the PenFed Promise card that gives you less than 8% for the first three years too.
The point is, these cards don't offer you any exciting rewards. There is no cash back, there are no rewards or miles on anything you spend. If all you want is a credit card to help you live your life from day to day and perhaps help you pay off whatever you have already run up, at lower interest rates, these are the products you need to consider. You can transfer your balance from another card for free, take advantage of their reasonable rates and pay down what you owe. The moral of the lesson is, don't believe that it's just the national and multinational banks that have the best deals. Sometimes, the tiny bank or credit union that's local to your area makes much more sense.