Notebook: Credit cards with the clearest terms

By Becky Yerak
Posted Aug. 10, 2010 at 12:10 p.m.

Capital One and Bank of America are the most up-front about the interest rates, fees and rewards on their credit cards, according to a new study by credit card research Web site

Sure, most card applications spell out all the terms in the fine print, but most consumers lack the patience to read the tiny disclosures.

Capital One and Bank of America ranked highest among 10 issuers in clarity on their applications, with scores of 96.4 percent and 95 percent, respectively.

Riverwoods-based Discover ranked fifth, with a score of 82.5 percent.

The worst performer was U.S. Bank, at 59.3 percent.

Many card applications performed poorly in terms of clearly disclosing the balance transfer fee. The study also found widespread ambiguity on non-cash back rewards credit cards.

Most applications were clearest about the annual fee.

Expand its reach: Home and auto insurers are stepping up their advertising, and as a result Allstate Corp. is trying to appeal to a broader group of consumers, Chief Executive Tom Wilson last week.

“It is — I won’t say a war, but it’s pretty close to escalating,” he said in an earnings conference call.

The Northbrook-based company’s new “Mayhem” ads, which feature a property-wrecking troublemaker, are targeted to younger consumers, he told the Tribune.

“It’s fair to say our age distribution looks like the United States, except we may be a little light in Gen-Yer’s,” or generally people under 30 years old, he said.

Hope floats: The Illinois Department of Insurance is offering free one-on-one counseling to victims of the recent heavy rains and flash flooding.

“The recent storms have resulted in unprecedented rainfall and property damage in areas around Chicago,” said Michael McRaith, insurance director.

Staff in Springfield and at the James R. Thompson Center at 100 W. Randolph St. in Chicago can help with such questions as how to properly document storm damage, whether to make temporary repairs, and what a homeowner policy covers.

Help is available in Spanish, Polish, Korean, Japanese, Urdu, Hindi and Bengali.

Time of his life: McRaith attended the Green Day concert last weekend at Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival.

“I seriously like their music, but the entire scene — the weather, skyline, vibe — was transcendent,” he said. His favorites were Give Me Novacaine and Boulevard of Broken Dreams, but he thought Nice Guys Finish Last was particularly strong.

Money matters: Wells Fargo & Co. has hired Bob Kastenholz as senior vice president overseeing a regional commercial banking office in Chicago serving companies with revenues of at least $20 million. The Western Springs resident, who has a bachelor’s from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s from Washington University in St. Louis, spent 25 years at LaSalle Bank, which in 2007 was bought by BofA.

The wind at her back: Congratulations to Gabi Gregg, named MTV’s first Twitter Jockey. Gregg was featured in a July 11 Tribune story about credit-card debt, and said at the time that if she won the MTV contest — and its $100,000 salary — she could pay off her $5,000 balance.

Read more about the topics in this post: , ,

Companies in this article


Read more about this company »

Bank of America

Read more about this company »

Discover Financial

Read more about this company »

Comments are closed.