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Credit card offers getting sweeter

Rewards and sign-up bonuses are downright attractive. However, interest rates on credit cards are on the rise.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 10, 2012 6:45PM

This post comes from Jeanine Skowronski at partner site MainStreet.


MainStreet on MSN MoneyIt looks like credit cards have become more consumer-friendly, according to a new report from Card Hub that analyzed the credit card landscape in the fourth quarter of 2011.


The credit card-ranking website’s report found that cash-back rewards were 60% more lucrative in the fourth quarter of 2011 than they were at the same time in 2010. Sign-up bonuses have also increased significantly, with cash-back offerings climbing 100% higher year over year and airline miles and reward points bonuses increasing by 10%.


"The credit card market is obviously improving, mirroring the nation's overall economic recovery," Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of Card Hub, said in a written statement. "We can only expect the U.S. credit industry to become even healthier in 2012, with access to credit increasing and interest rates and rewards either standing pat or improving slightly."


Card Hub also says that 0% introductory annual percentage rates lasted 27% longer than they did the year before, with many issuers currently offering teaser rates for six to 21 months of an account's opening. Post continues below.

Additionally, fees associated with balance transfers and foreign exchanges are rapidly decreasing in an attempt to make offers more attractive to consumers with high balances and to frequent travelers.


The analysis is based on data from the more than 1,000 credit card offers that Card Hub monitors on a daily basis.


The one bit of bad news in Card Hub's analysis is that cards' regular APRs are on the rise as a result of the improved promotional offers and abolished fees. The website observed relative APR increases of between 3.5% and 9.5% among credit cards for excellent, good and fair credit and secured credit cards. Student and business cards experienced a smaller 1% uptick.


More on MainStreet and MSN Money:

Jan 13, 2012 7:01PM

The number of new credit card offers is rapidly increasing, as well as their quality.  The best offers are of course reserved for the consumers with the highest credit scores and if your credit history is less than good, you may not be approved for any card, even though card issuers are trying hard to push us away from debit cards and toward credit cards instead.  Whatever your circumstances, however, there are simple rules you should follow when making credit decisions.

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