2015 Credit Card Application Study
by Alina Comoreanu. Research Analyst | Aug 5, 2015
How easy is it to find the right credit card online? While comparison tools and customer reviews simplify the selection process in many respects, marketing obfuscation and inconsistency on the part of issuers makes it difficult for consumers to accurately discern each offer’s net value proposition, and thus which card will best suit their needs.
In order to gauge the extent of the problem, and highlight specific areas of concern for consumers, we evaluated online credit card listings from the websites of 10 large national banks as well as 10 of the most popular credit unions. We then scored each website based on the manner in which they characterize the following types of account information:
- Rewards: Do the issuer’s product pages clearly define — without reading the fine print — how to earn rewards and how much they are worth (e.g. Are 50,000 miles worth a trip to Chicago or Greece)?
- Annual Fee: Is the annual fee clearly displayed, beyond pricing disclosures or fine print?
- Costs of Financing New Purchases: Are the introductory and regular APRs for new purchases clear to the consumer without having to reference pricing disclosures, fine print, or a separate page?
- Balance Transfer Costs: Are all relevant balance transfer terms – introductory and regular APRs and balance transfer fee – clear without referring to pricing disclosures, fine print, or a different page?