NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Last year was a difficult one for credit card customers. Interest rates increased significantly, credit limits were slashed for millions of cardholders, issuers closed risky accounts and rewards were decreased.
Many consumers wondered what would happen after the CARD Act and other regulations went into effect this year. Would credit card consumers really benefit?
Despite regulations, credit card issuers are still increasing rates and fees in 2010, but less dramatically than last year. Here are some changes banks and credit card issuers have made.
Rate increases: Compared with 2009, this has been a slow year for rate increases. Issuers raised rates dramatically while it was still easy, and most have not made wide-ranging increases since. Here are some recent changes:Capital One (COF) increased the rate on its Classic Platinum credit card to 19.8% from 16.9% and on the No Hassle Cash Rewards card to 19.8% from 17.9%. Citigroup (C) increased its cash advance APR to 25.24% from 21.99% in February. Overall, rates are still rising. Based on the 1,000-plus cards in the LowCards.com Complete Credit Card Index, the average advertised APR for credit cards is 13.62%. Six months ago, the average was 13.24%, and a year ago the average was 12.12%. Higher fees: Discover (DFS) increased the cash advance fee in January to 5% with a $10 minimum from 3% with a $5 minimum. Bank of America (BAC) added an annual fee for a limited group of cardholders that started in February. The fee ranges from $29 to $99 and is applied to the selected accounts based on risk and profitability. Citigroup increased its balance transfer fee to 4% from 3% in June. It also raised the cash advance fee to 5% with a minimum fee of $10, from 3%. Citigroup added a $60 annual fee to some credit card accounts in April. If consumers make $2,400 in purchases each year, the fee is credited to users' accounts.
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