National Credit Education Week Brings Tips for Consumers

By Fickenscher, Lisa | American Banker, April 29, 1994 | Go to article overview

National Credit Education Week Brings Tips for Consumers


Fickenscher, Lisa, American Banker


For National Credit Education Week, which ends Saturday, consumer and industry groups offered a panolpy of tips on how to use credit cards responsibly.

Organizations such as MasterCard International, the American Bankers Association and BankCard Holders of America, have made available a wealth of consumer literature.

In a newsletter to its members, BankCard Holders of America, as consumer advocacy group based in Salem, Va., focused on minimum-payment requirements.

The nonprofit group noted that this year three of the top 10 issuers have dropped their minimum payments to as low as 2% of a cardholder's current balance. Citicorp reduced its minimum payment from 2.78% to 2.1%, while MBNA Corp. and Chase Manhattan Corp. dropped theirs from 2.5% to 2%.

Four other major issuers already had minimum-balance requirements hovering at 2%.

The average minimum-payment requirement for the industry was 2.5% of the cardholder's current balance, or a minimum of $15, noted Ruth Susswein, executive director of BankCard Holders. Now it is either $10 opr 2%0 of the current balance.

ABA Brochure

But the lower requirement is not always in the consumer's best interest, Ms. Susswein noted. For example, a Citibank customer with a $1,100 credit-card balance who pays only the minimum charge at 2.1%, pays $394 more than what he or she would have at the old minimum-payment requirement.

The American Bankers Association's brochure "How to Choose, Use, And Not Abuse Your Bank Credit Card" provides basic information on when it is appropriate for consumers to choose a card with an annual fee and when a consumer should select a low-interest-rate card. …

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