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Lenders Making Credit Card Offers More Attractive

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In recent months, many consumers have probably found their mailbox full of credit card offers regardless of their previous borrowing history, and the value of those offers has likely been on the rise again, particularly if they have a strong credit score.

Lenders have been casting a wider net in recent months, broadening credit standards and extending offers to even those who may have defaulted on a credit card account in the past. The best offers, though, are reserved for those who have maintained top-notch credit ratings, according to a report from TIME Moneyland. As recently as a few months ago, the offers being extended to superprime borrowers were worth several thousand additional bonus points just for signing up, and then a little more if they met certain spending requirements within the first few months the account was open, and in total, these were worth a few hundred dollars.

But now, as competition for top-quality borrowers continues to heat up, those offers are growing to values of more than $1,000 in certain circumstances, the report said. Take, for example, the Citi ThankYou Premier card, which grants new borrowers 80,000 bonus points if they spend more than $3,000 on it within the first three months of opening the account. Those points are worth a total of $1,060—more than 33 percent of what they spent on the card. Similarly, the American Express Platinum card grants borrowers 100,000 points for meeting the same $3,000 threshold in three months, but those points are worth a total of as much as $1,200—40 percent of the money they put on the account.

However, consumers who obtain these cards should also be careful to note that these cards carry sizable annual fees—as much as $175 per year for the AmEx card, the report said. And while they also come with far more perks than the average no-frills card, they also carry higher interest rates that consumers, even those who have spotless borrowing histories, may find it difficult to afford if they carry a balance over from one month to the next.

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Consequently, consumers should always be sure to look at all aspects of a borrowing agreement, not just the value of an introductory offer, when opening a new account.

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