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Lenders now giving more credit cards to subprime consumers

Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 5:05:25 PM

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Recent months have seen many consumers who experienced financial difficulties gain access to new lines of credit from major lenders, and that trend is expected to continue for at least the rest of the year.

Industry experts say that lenders are extremely likely to continue their efforts to increase the number of credit card applications they send to consumers with subprime ratings over the remainder of the year, according to a new survey from the Professional Risk Managers' International Association, on behalf of the credit scoring company Fair Isaac Corp. Dr. Andrew Jennings, the chief analytics officer for FICO and head of FICO Labs, says this change has largely come for two reasons.

First, consumers of all credit backgrounds simply have more demand for new lines of credit now that their finances are improving, the report said. And second, 69 percent of the experts polled believe that consumers will continue to reduce the rate at which they miss payments on their credit card accounts over the next six months.

"Last quarter we saw a sharp uptick in sentiment regarding consumer credit, with more respondents expecting things to improve than we had seen at any point in the previous two years," Jennings said. "Now lenders are expecting things to at least stay the same, and quite possibly improve further. These results indicate that bankers believe consumer health has turned a corner."

So what does this mean for you?

Increasing credit card approvals mean that if you have seen your credit score take a bit of a hit in recent years, such as the result of financial difficulties brought on by the economic downturn, you may now be able to find credit card offers that you will be able to qualify for.

What can you expect?

Depending on your exact credit standing, there may be a number of different accounts available to you, each with their own benefits. You may not be able to find the best rewards credit cards on the market, which are usually reserved for those with the highest credit scores, but you can certainly find one that will suit your needs as you seek to rebuild you standing.

Which 

types of credit card offers are

 best for you?

Because there are now so many different kinds of credit card offer available to you, it might be a bit overwhelming to determine exactly which will work best.

But in many cases, taking a careful assessment of where you currently stand financially and the various offers available to you might help you identify the best credit card deals given your unique situation.

For instance, if you don't have a credit card in your name right now, or don't have a sizable balance on the accounts you do have, it probably doesn't make sense to look into balance transfer credit cards that carry low introductory rates.

Instead, it might be a good idea to find a card that comes with a low ongoing interest rate or no annual fee. These will be helpful in keeping the prices you face for your normal credit card spending habits at a minimum, but how they do so will depend heavily on those habits.

If you used to carry a balance from one month to the next with regularity, the low APR credit card will likely be helpful, because it will ensure that you don't face larger costs every month. But if you kept balances low or paid your bill off in full every month, or only want a new credit card for use in emergencies or to fund major purchases, you might want to find a no annual fee credit card. This will help you save $50 or more per year that you might otherwise have had to pay just to keep your account open.

Finally, if you are recovering from financial problems, a good place to start may be credit cards for average credit. While you may not have rate comparable with the best credit cards on the market, they do come with a surprising number of perks such as cashback, rewards, introductory APR and more.

Make credit repair a goal when you apply for a new credit card.

Of course, whenever you're reviewing any credit card applications online, you should always ask yourself how any account you're examining will affect you and your finances. While this type of borrowing can be a great way to give yourself some spending flexibility every month, you probably know firsthand just how important it is to manage these accounts responsibly.

By reviewing a number of online credit card applications and seeing how each might affect your personal finances, you'll both get a better idea of the average cost you can expect for the kind of card you want. You can then use that understanding to determine what constitutes the best deal given your unique financial situation and spending habits.

And if you want other credit cards in the future, you should use the new one you get as a result of broadening standards responsibly until you build your credit rating back to a respectable level.



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