Credit Card Use

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POSTED: Monday, August 23, 2010 - 8:12am

UPDATED: Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 1:09pm

Consumers are being offered more protection from their credit card companies.

The biggest changes you'll notice in new credit cards rules that took effect Sunday are that there are no more inactivity fees for not using your cards enough.

They also put a cap of $25 on late payment fees.

Plus, fees for going over your credit limit can not exceed the amount of overspending

Also, from now on, your bank or credit card company can't just arbitrarily raise your interest rate.

A lot of the old rules are the reason why millions of people have been chucking credit cards..

Research from the credit-monitoring agency, Experian, now shows the average consumer carries three credit cards whereas just a few years ago, it was four.

"Well it appears their attitudes have changed by closing some of their credit cards and that they are consolidating them and that they aren't using them as frequently," said Michele Raneri from Experian Credit Monitoring.

New York City consumers on average carry the most cards at nearly four per person.

While residents of Phoenix carry the fewest at just under three cards, on average.


Consumers in Atlanta had the highest average monthly balance at over $6,700.

San franciscans had the lowest with a monthly balance of $5,300.

Balances overall, though, are actually down 3% from what they were three years ago.

"It was a little bit surprising just considering the cash-flow problems that we know people have encountered in the economy," said Raneri.

Some analysts say this research shows more Americans are paying off old credit cards debts before taking on new ones.
 

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