For the first time in about three years, the nation's credit card lenders have resumed sending preapproved offers to most consumers, including those whose credit rating is so bad that they were denied for a similar account just a few months ago, according to a report from the New York Times. However, banks are now hedging their bets by beefing up terms of these agreements, such as introducing higher interest rates on credit card debt and bringing back annual fees.
Lenders may be wary of consumers because, according to one financial consultancy firm, they wrote off $189 billion on defaulted credit card debt since the beginning of the fiscal meltdown in 2007, the report said. That accounts for nearly 10 percent of all money lost in the crisis.
In recent months, consumers who were flushed from the credit system have likely been unable to reestablish their rating. This may be partly because they have been unable to qualify for a new account that allows them to take on credit card debt.