North Huntington, PA (PressExposure) November 22, 2011 -- Executives at Century Negotiations, Inc. are applauding the CARD Act after a Consumer Reports survey revealed signs of progress for credit card customers.
The improved consumer experiences are a result of The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (CARD Act) which took effect February 2010. The act was created to ensure fairness and transparency by prohibiting abusive practices and making credit card agreements and terms easier for consumers to understand.
Consumers are paying down their balances and facing fewer penalties such as higher rates, late payment fees, and canceled cards, according to the Consumer Reports National Research Center. Some of the results include the following:
Median debt level on credit cards was $3,414 (down from $3,793 in 2010).
39 percent of cardholders have revolving balances (down from 42 percent in 2010).
51 percent were highly satisfied with the service they receive from their credit cards (up from 45 percent in 2010).
12 percent said credit card companies treated them unfairly (down from 15 percent in 2010).
Credit card companies are also making it easier for consumers to borrow. Only 14 percent were denied a credit card in 2011, down from 24 percent in 2010. Additional research from Mintel Comperemedia indicates that 23 percent of credit card offers included cash incentives this year, up from one percent in 2007.
"This report reveals some much needed and welcome news from the credit card industry-which is hopefully the beginning of a real change in behavior from credit card companies; but consumer should be wary of easy credit and attractive credit card offers," warned Century Negotiations President Amy Michalo-Rojas. "Many will offer bonuses and low rates, but the fine print may tell a different story."
Instead, she said, consumers should concentrate on avoiding new credit card debt entirely. Credit cards remain one of the "lowest rated services ever analyzed by the Consumer Reports National Research Center," according to a statement from the group.
Moreover, credit card holders who cannot meet their payment obligations will have to deal with the debt collection industry, which continues to receive more complaints than any other industry, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC's annual FDCPA (Fair Debt Collections Practices Act) report tracks complaints and lawsuits. While the 2011 report is not due out for several months, FDCPA lawsuits are already poised to exceed last year's numbers.
"Our hope is that the continually record-breaking FDCPA complaints and lawsuits are a result of more consumers understanding the law and standing up to unscrupulous debt collection agencies," said Michalo-Rojas. "However these numbers are entirely too high, and consumers should do what they can to avoid adding new debt."
She added that while many struggling consumers strive to meet their financial obligations, let alone avoid new debt, it is sometimes not possible. Unemployment, medical problems, and divorce are common occurrences that push households and individuals over the financial tipping point. She encourages these consumers to learn about debt settlement and Century Negotiations, a debt resolution company serving consumers struggling to repay credit card bills and other debts, by visiting http://www.CenturyNI.com.