A recent report from the Pew Health Group's Safe Credit Card Project has found that credit cards issued by credit unions remain the best deal for consumers and that, by and large, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act has accomplished the goals legislators intended.
The CARD Act will have its second year anniversary on May 22.
The report, based on a survey of card disclosure documents from the 12 largest banks and the 12 largest credit unions, revealed that interest rates have largely held steady while penalty rates have dropped, over-limit fees have almost vanished and annual fees on the cards that carry them have also remained remarkably the same.
If anything, the report documented that the “consumer friendly” gap between bank-issued and CU-issued cards has narrowed somewhat as the rates CU cards charged crept up slightly while those of banks remained the same.
For example, the CU cards went up slightly on their annual percentage rates, while banks remained the same.
However, where the banks left their cash advance fees unchanged, credit union card issuers dropped theirs. And, significantly, the table shows that where 11% of bank cards still assess over-limit fees, none of the credit union cards did. Likewise, none of the CU-issued cards carried mandatory binding arbitration clauses, where 14% (up from 10% previously) of banks' cards did so.