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Lenders Pushing No-Frills Cards With Low Rates

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In recent months, lenders have begun hard pushes to attract both borrowers with low and high credit score by aggressively marketing cardsthat will fit their financial needs. Now, they’re once again pushing cards to those in the middle as well.

The number of offers specifically targeted to affluent borrowers, mostly for high-quality rewards cards, or sub-prime consumers has risen considerably, but that also left a large portion of consumers unaddressed, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. As a consequence, many consumers with average credit scores – who may be looking to avoid the high borrowing costs associated with rewards accounts or those for consumers with subprime credit ratings – are now starting to receive offers for inexpensive, no-frills credit cards.

These cards typically come with interest rates as low as 8 percent, and none of the fees associated with other cards they may be able to qualify for, the report said. That’s because lenders have recognized a need to start marketing to borrowers who have taken significant steps to reduce their debt since the recession and who do not want to start dealing with higher rates again.

Another possible reason for this type of offer is that financial institutions are trying to let some borrowers who were turned off from the banking system during the recession that it’s safe to once again start dealing with some of the accounts they’d eschewed in recent years, the report said.

“People are losing trust in the banks,” Paul Wilmore, managing director of consumer markets for Barclaycard US, told the newspaper. “It’s at an all-time low, quite frankly. People are trusting their family and friends … even strangers more than the banks and the brands that they interact with.”

Lenders such as Barclaycard US, Citi and JPMorgan Chase all have low-cost, no-frills cards with varying lower interest rates and few benefits otherwise, apart from the greater affordability that comes with those reduced APRs, the report said.

Competition for borrowers of all types is heating up, and this has prompted many institutions who had previously tightened lending restrictions drastically to start sending offers even to consumers who had previously defaulted on outstanding balances. Of course, the most sought-after customers remain those with top-notch credit ratings.

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