Survey: Half of Credit Card Users Have Seen Rate Hikes

credit cardsExactly half of surveyed Americans have had their credit card interest rates raised in the past six months, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.
Nearly a third, 31 percent,  say their interest rates have not increased on any of their credit cards in that period. Nineteen percent aren’t sure.
Sixty-nine percent of survey respondents say an increase in the interest rate on a credit card will discourage them from using that card. Twenty-five percent disagree, and will likely use their card if their rate is hiked.
The Rasmussen survey results reinforce what lawmakers, credit industry observers and consumers have been seeing over the past several months as card issuers respond to pending credit card reform laws that will make it harder for them to raise rates and impose fees in the future. The new laws are set to be enforced in February, although the House voted to make the Credit CARD Act of 2009 effective immediately. A similar vote in the Senate is pending, but seems unlikely.
The Rasmussen survey was fairly split on consumer habits regarding credit card balances. Fifty-one percent say they pay their cards in full each month, while 45 percent say they sometimes carry a balance on their cards.
Other revealing results:

  • Only 16 percent say they are carrying more credit card debt than they did a year ago. That’s down five points from December of last year. Thirty-four percent say they have less credit card debt now, and 46 percent say their debt load is about the same.
  • Twenty-six percent say they do not know the interest rate the pay on their primary credit card. Sixty-one percent say they do know that interest rate, while 13 percent are not sure.
  • Seventy-seven percent of Americans believe that credit card companies take unfair advantage of consumers with the interest rates they charge. Just 14 percent do not agree.

However, a majority of those surveyed worry that the new laws restricting interest rates will make it more difficult for some people to get approved for new credit cards.
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