Not long ago, through the heyday of the credit boom, visa or MasterCard companies would be falling over each other to attract new customers. One of the main ways they did this was to offer ever more desirable features on their credit cards – lengthier 0% balance transfer specials, lower interest levels, more lucrative rewards schemes; all with the goal of pushing their way to the top of the best purchase tables on the countless quotation web sites on line.
A place at the top of these tables could make sure a card business a rush of brand new applicants, and so eager were they to find new business their validation conditions were often reasonably low, so it was not too difficult for the average joe to get hold of a great account with many interesting features.
This history has lifted our presumptions of what to take into consideration in a card, but of course the wider situation has transformed vastly subsequently. In the aftermath of the credit crunch and subsequent slump, card issuers have principally been aiming to positively greatly reduce the number of credit accounts they operate, trying to limit their exposure to bad debt as an incredible number of consumers slip into financial difficulties. Not only have a number of noteworthy finance institutions cancelled the credit accounts of thousands of consumers, many others have raised their APRs to punitive levels to encourage people to switch to a replacement credit card and thus reduce the issuer’s exposure.
Yet another result of all this is that banking companies are no longer quite so keen to force their cards to the top spot in the comparison tables, so the offers available are becoming less attractive across the board. Certainly, there are still some exceptional deals on the market, but to get approved for these card accounts you need to have a much better history of credit than was obligatory in earlier times.
Precisely what does all of this indicate? Simply, if you’re looking for a fresh credit card – and consumer demand is still strong – it’s wise to lower your sights just a little. The best credit cards are only really accessible to those with pristine credit ratings, and the rest of us have to be satisfied with something less.
Rather than trying for a credit card with wonderful qualities across the board, make a choice of one element that is most critical to you, and find a card offering a solid if an unexceptional offer in that area – and one with acceptance requirements you’ll probably suit.