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Credit Card Mail Solicitations Increase 83%

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Look no further than your own mailbox to see that the rebound in the credit card industry is under way.

According to a recent study by Synovate Mail Monitor, households in the United States got 640.3 million credit card offers during the second quarter of this year. This was an 83% increase over the 349.1 million offers mailed during the same quarter last year. Several issuers showed very significant increases in volume during the April-June period: Chase (JPM) quadrupled their mailings and Citi (C) nearly tripled theirs.

This increase in mailings follows a 29% jump during the first quarter of the year (481.3 million offers versus 372.4 million).

For the first six months of the year, there have been 1.12 billion credit card offers sent through the mail. During all of last year, there were 1.39 billion.

This is an indication that the financial outlook for credit card issuers has improved dramatically. Defaults and delinquencies continue to decline, and they have put new policies in place, as well as some increased rates and fees -- results of the implementation of the federal Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act. They are once again aggressively pursuing new customers, but this time around, they seem to really be focusing on those with good or excellent credit scores.

In addition to increased mailings, issuers are using incentives to get potential cardholders to sign up for their credit card. Seventy-one percent of these mail solicitations contain an introductory offer, the highest percentage in the 22 years of Synovate tracking this data. A number of these introductory offers have 0% APR for a certain number of months.

While these credit card mail solicitation figures are hefty increases over the previous year, they are substantially below the record 1.58 billion mailings sent during the third quarter of 2005.

-- Reported by Bill Hardekopf of LowCards.com.

Bill Hardekopf is chief executive of LowCards.com, which compares and rates more than 1,000 credit cards. He is the co-author of "The Credit Card Guidebook."

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