This is the
VOA Special English Economics Report.
let people buy things now and
pay for them over months or
even years. But some people
get deep into debt. And critics
say some banks have terms and charges
that can make it harder for
people to pay off that debt.
In the United States, there
are calls for
stronger government supervision
of the credit card industry. Credit cards have been
heavily marketed through the
mail and at stores. They
offer economic power at a
In two thousand four,
Americans had about eight
hundred billion dollars in credit card debt. Now they
owe about nine hundred
sixty-eight billion. The average
interest rate on those cards is
currently thirteen and a half percent.
Critics say banks
made it too easy to get credit
cards. But that may be
changing. The crisis in the housing
and credits markets is beginning to affect the credit card industry. More
late. Charges for late payments
are a growing source of
profit for banks. But late
payments can also signal bad
The central bank, the Federal
Reserve, says two-thirds of American banks have recently
lending requirements. Many
people report having their credit limits reduced
cardholders do not have
enough protections from what
critics say are abusive policies.
These include actions like raising interest rates
because of an
unrelated event – like a missed
payment on another debt. Also, banks may raise the chances of a late payment
by changing monthly payment
dates for credit cards.
Congress has been considering
protections. The industry sees no need for more rules. Eighty-two percent of
Americans think credit cards provide
a valuable service. But
fifty-eight percent, say they do not
trust credit card companies.
And three out of four think the
government should regulate the
industry more closely.
findings released this week
from a national survey.
CreditCards.com, an online marketplace,
reported the findings based on a thousand adults.
Three out of four people feel
there is always some condition that makes a card
less appealing than the company
made it sound. And a little
more than half say they have
had a card that was not as good as they expected. But
close to eighty percent say no
one really reads the terms and conditions when they
sign up for a credit card.
And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Mario Ritter.