Coming to a Mailbox Near You: More Credit Card Offers

by Miranda Marquit · 6 comments

Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of credit offers in the mail. A LOT. Some days, we have four or five offers in the mailbox. We have good credit, so it’s not surprising that our mailbox is flooded with offers. However, even those with less than stellar credit are starting to see an uptick in the offers they are getting. With the economy showing some signs of life, and since many people paid down debt during the recession, credit card issuers are venturing out there with offers.

However, not everyone is getting the same offers. Credit card issuers vary the offers according to your credit profile. Some of the card features that can change according to your credit include:

Interest Rate

Almost all new credit card accounts come with interest rates that are higher than they used to be. Even if you have good credit, your interest rate could be 13.99% or 15.99%. Almost gone are the days when someone with good credit could see an offer for a credit card with 9.99% APR.

Other items related to interest rate are also affected by your credit profile. Someone with better credit can expect a 0% balance transfer offer, as well as a 0% purchase APR. The introductory period is often longer as well. Someone with slightly worse credit might see an intro APR of 1.99% or 3.99%, instead of 0%, and the intro period might be shorter too.

Cash Bonus Offers

Cash bonus offers are making a comeback — in a big way. Many cards offer $100, or even $200, bonuses when you make purchases within a certain time period. However, these plum cash bonus offers are usually only provided to those with good credit. Someone with poor credit might not get the same offer.

The same is true of other bonus offers. From miles to points to other perks, if you have good credit you are more likely to receive better bonus offers. These offers can save you money over time — if you qualify. Those with fair or poor credit, though, may not even get the chance to apply for credit cards with such generous bonuses.

Rewards Programs

Those with poor credit probably can’t expect to see the best rewards programs when they receive credit card offers, as they might not even be able to qualify for credit cards that offer rewards, especially the more generous rewards. Those with good credit, though, have the chance to sign up for credit cards that provide a variety of rewards options.

Poor Credit = Fewer Credit Card Choices

Even though you may be seeing more credit card offers in your mailbox, the truth is that poor credit means fewer credit card choices. Someone with good credit has more chances to find the card he or she wants. With poor credit, you are more likely to receive offers for high interest, high fee cards designed to help you rebuild your credit score. As a result, you might end up paying an annual fee, and other fees, as well as a high rate of interest.

If you want the best options for credit cards that can be used as tools, you will need to work on improving your credit situation.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance @ Money Life and More May 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

The differences definitely exist. My girlfriend signed up for Chase Freedom online and got $200 cash bonus after spending $500 in three months. The next day I got an offer for Chase Freedom in the mail for $300 cash bonus after my first purchase. Needless to say my girlfriend was not happy I got the better deal, but I imagine it was my credit score that made the difference as I have longer history than she does.

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Adam Gottlieb @ The Frugal Entrepreneur May 3, 2012 at 12:48 am

It may not just have been your credit score that made the difference… These days the credit card companies are using a sophisticated set of metrics to determine what to offer to whom and even how to make their offer. In other words, they are considering your age, where your are living, your income, any info they can glean about your purchasing habits, etc. You may be surprised about how much they actually “know” about you.

For a little background see this article (It’s a little long. But, you can scroll down to about mid-way through):

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/magazine/17credit-t.html?pagewanted=all

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Zach @ Dividend Stocks Online May 2, 2012 at 2:28 am

If you have good credit there are so many choices out there. You will get better offers like Miranda is saying but I’ve found that what you get in the mail may not be the best you can do. I frequent flyertalk and other travel forums for the best offers before signing up for a card. What you get in the mail and what you find on the chase/amex website are not always the best offers available.

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Marbella May 2, 2012 at 4:47 am

Say NO to all credit card offers, it only costs you money in the long run, it’s you who has to pay salaries, offices, promotions, etc. for credit card companies’ costs, no one else.

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Carl Lassegue May 2, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Credit cards do not have to cost you more in the long run. If you have a card with no annual fee and pay off your credit card bill every month, it can be a great tool to help build your credit.

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Melans August 17, 2012 at 10:37 am

Research suggest when using a credit card, even if you pay it off every month – you spend more than someone paying with cash or even a debit card. So, even if you aren’t spending money on interest, you are still purchasing more- which leads to less money for you. So while you may not realize it, credit cards are costing you. I agree with Marbella- stay away!

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