Thousands across the country have been getting credit card offers in the mail and online in recent weeks.
Lenders are spending big on marketing again as the economy returns to normalcy amid the COVID-19 pandemic — and a record number of people are taking credit card companies up on their new offers.
Recently, nearly 27% of customers said they had applied for a credit card in the past year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That's the highest level since 2019.
The findings come as credit card debt has dropped. Debt levels are currently 13% lower than at the end of 2019.
"It may have started because you got stimulus checks that you use to pay down debt, or you took advantage of how you were spending last. But now, let's try to keep that going. There is definitely a risk that those numbers will go back up.," said Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com. "The best thing you can do is pay in full, get the rewards, get the better buyer protections and avoid those higher interest rates."
Rossman says lenders are currently offering a slew of special sign-up bonuses and incentives for credit cards. Many companies are also again offering 0% balance transfer cards to people with debt.
But all of those new offers can mean a lot of mail. For those who want to stop getting those offers, visiting OptOutPrescreen.com is a good place to start.
"It's not perfect. You may still get some offers, especially from companies that you have a relationship with," Rossman said. "Direct mail is definitely still a primary channel for card companies. Obviously, online is big as well, but yeah, they're definitely pushing these aggressively."
Credit limits are one thing Rossman is watching that he says may show lenders still have some risk concerns. The average credit limit for a new card this year is about $4,000, down 21% from two years ago.