5. Fixed-rate cards will shift to variable rates: In 2009, issuers switched many fixed-rate cards to variable rates, which rise and fall with the prime rate. The prime rate is currently at 3.25%, the lowest level since the 1950s. As the economy recovers, the rate is expected to rise and customers will likely feel the increase. If your card still has a fixed rate, expect it to be switched to a variable rate in the next month.
6. Fewer rewards on some, more rewards on others: Rewards sound generous in advertisements, but the points formula can be complicated and subject to change. Expect issuers to play musical chairs with rewards in 2010.
Issuers will cut costs by reducing rewards for some cardholders, especially those who pay off balances each month and aren't subject to annual fees. These curbed rewards could come in the form of smaller payouts for cash-back cards or increased point thresholds for free hotel stays and flights. However, rewards will likely be used as an incentive for cardholders to accept a credit card with an annual fee.
7. More government regulation: Credit card reform is a hot issue and some Congressmen think the CARD Act didn't go far enough. For example, Congress may try to force issuers to lower the interchange rate they charge merchants. If this passes, it will reduce an important source of revenue for issuers, and consumers will likely have to pay more to make up the loss.-- Reported by Bill Hardekopf of LowCards.com.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
24/7 market commentary from Jim Cramer and 20+ veteran Wall Street gurus. Get access to the latest trading ideas on stocks, options, and ETFs as well as a real-time forum to see the pros exchanging their investment ideas.
- Jim Cramer + 20 Wall Street pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Real-time trading forum
- Actionable trade ideas
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV