What can we learn about the health of the economy from the terms offered by the market's best credit cards?
Assuming the terms of the best credit cards are like good cash back, zero introductory interest rates, no annual fee, etc. then that perhaps indicates a competitive credit market. Economic supply and demand may also be playing a role here that if the credit demand is competitive, credit suppliers (lenders in this case) are offering a good deal to attract consumers and to increase their market share. In practice, the lender's decision for best offers depend on the credit worthiness of the customers. If they are offering the best deals like 0% introductory interest rates even for customers with moderate credit scores that may indicate an increasing confidence in the economy that the consumers will increase spending and will find a way out to pay back the debt. The lenders make more profit from the increased spending of the credit customer, so they may not hesitate to take some risk if they think the economy is improving. The other perspective to look into this question is that banks may be cross subsidizing the best credit cards with extra revenue generated from the worst credit cards for marketing strategy purposes. Nevertheless, an increase in the credit card use overall, may indicate consumer confidence in the improving economy.
What percentage of people would you say have the best credit cards for their needs?
This needs a data analysis for accurate statement. U.S. credit-card attrition rates, a measure of how many cards consumers and card issuers close, reached 15% in 2017, up from less than 10% a year earlier, according to Mercator. It may be due to lack of basic financial education, many people do not make educated decision on what cards to carry and what benefits those cards offer. However, few percentages of people do actually analyze the risk reward trade off while accepting the credit card offers. The consumer, however, may learn themselves become better consumer once they started using the credit cards. They may negotiate for more favorable terms and or may consider switching to another lender once they understood the business process.
What tips do you have for someone trying to find the best credit card for their needs?
There could be different circumstances in which a consumer seeks credit cards. Some people who are trying to have credit card first time may want the credit card to build their credit history and others may be seeking credit card to get airline, restaurant or car rental discounts. And there are some in need of urgent credits for various reasons. So same criteria may not suit for every consumer, however, still few tips can be considered while selecting the cards, for example, you should pay a close attention to the terms of the card before applying for it. The credit cards that offer cash backs and low interest rates with no annual fees are always better. You should make sure that fees and interest rates offered are something that you can comfortably afford. Likewise, the secured cards offer much more protection in comparison to unsecured cards. Some companies provide rewards for their loyal customers, so for example, if you are flying on the same airline repeatedly, then it is better to carry the same airline company's card for the best frequent airline mileage rewards or any other bonus points rewards. Lastly, remember to spend within your means - do not spend that is beyond your means to avoid accruing interest or being charged a late fee. Another tip could be if the card has a good grace period - for example, a 25-day grace period is like a free loan if you plan to pay off the balance on time.
How much is a market-leading credit card offer worth to a bank or credit union?
As mentioned earlier, lenders make most profits from the spending of the credit customers. The amount of advertisement the lenders spend on credit offerings also tells that this is good profitable business. Therefore, it is no wonder market leading credit card offer worth high for the banks. A good credit card spender on high interest rate is like a cash cow for the lending institutions such as a bank or credit union. Credit cards remain far more profitable than other types of banking, a new Federal Reserve report says. For all commercial banks, the average return on all assets, before taxes and extraordinary items, was 1.30 percent in 2015 compared to 4.36 percent for the large credit card banks
What would you say to someone who thinks the best credit card is no credit card at all?
I would not agree that best credit card is no credit card at all. The main point here is that how responsible the consumer is. If credit cards are used responsibly there are many benefits that you cannot get from using only cash. For example, by using credit cards, you can enjoy free cash back and no interest expense if you can pay the amount within the grace period. A regular use of credit card for the small percentage of the total credit line helps build your good credit history. Some cards also offer good discount deals on insurance, rental car, restaurants, etc. Credit card purchase history also helps consumers to track their spending and saving habits. However, one caution is that according to the behavioral economics, people tend to spend more when using a credit card than when they pay with cash. So it is very vital that you are spending responsibly with in the means that you are comfortable with what you are purchasing.