Credit card offers sent via mail are on the rise again. After all but disappearing in the depths of the recession, Synovate reported that direct mail credit card offers increased by 29% in the first quarter of 2010 versus the first quarter of 2009.
Synovate, which tracks direct mail through a tracking service known as Mail Monitor, also reported that nearly two thirds of offers provided a low introductory interest rate. However, the percentage of low and 0% balance transfer offers did decline.
The percent of credit card offers that carry annual fees increased slightly although the average annual fee dropped from $93 to $68 in the period measured.
Although the increase in mail offers tracked by Synovate could be viewed as a good sign, the company doesn't report on the credit quality of recipients. In all likelihood, the increase in offers went straight to the mailboxes of consumers perceived to have excellent credit, as opposed to people with good or average credit.
Ultimately, the fact that credit card companies are putting more offers in the mail is a good thing: it demonstrates that consumer lending is returning. Nevertheless, most consumers can likely find significantly better deals online. Most online credit card offers carry no annual fees and 0% interest rates on both purchases and balance transfers that last up to 12 months. Plus, when you shop for a credit card online, you can compare multiple deals.
If you simply accept a credit card offer from the mail, you could be missing out on the best credit card deals. As is the case with most products, it pays to shop online before making a decision.