ARLINGTON, Va. -- The growth of debit cards and the use of home equity cash to pay off credit card debt were two card trends which have benefited consumers in 2006, according to an article on Bankrate.com, a Web site devoted to tracking credit card trends and news.
The article also cited prepaid card and no-fee credit cards as positive trends, along with the growth of savings cards and the advent of free credit reports.
In a July 2006 study Mercator Advisory Group projected payroll cards alone will grow from 812,500 in 2004 to 14.2 million cards by 2008. Visa USA predicts the market for prepaid cards will reach the trillion-dollar mark, including travel cards, gift cards, cards for teens, and rebate and incentive cards, the story reported.
On the growth of savings card, the Web site noted that while a February Federal Reserve Board survey found that Americans had the lowest rate of savings since the Depression, credit card companies have developed programs that promote savings while spending. A percentage of what the cardholder spends is swept into a savings account. There are about 50 being offered now, including the American Express One Card, Bank of America's "Keep the Change" program, Citi's Upromise Platinum Select MasterCard (for college savings) and the Fidelity Investment Rewards Visa (which can be linked to various investment accounts such as an IRA).