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VISA STUDY REVEALS MOST CREDIT CARD OWNERS AWARE OF COMPETITION AMONG CARDS & WIDESPREAD AVAILABILITY OF GOOD DEALS ON INTEREST RATES & FEES

 SAN FRANCISCO, April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- A study released today by Visa U.S.A., conducted by ORC Information Services of Princeton, N.J., revealed that most bank card (such as Visa an MasterCard) owners are aware of competition among cards and believe there is a wide assortment of good deals on interest rates and fees. Seventy-eight percent of those polled said they feel they have competitive interest rates and fees on their cards.
 Almost nine out of ten current bankcard owners (84 percent) believe there are credit cards available with a variety of different interest rates and fees. Three-quarters of the respondents (73 percent) believe there are good deals available. Two-thirds (66 percent) say they received credit card offers within the past year offering a wide variety of benefits, interest rates and fe most interested in obtaining a lower interest rate followed by a lower or no annual fee. The Gallup study also found a decline in card cancellations in the last six months with only 10 percent of respondents reporting they had canceled a credit card during that period, compared with 13 percent in the earlier six months.
 "What these studies show is that the vast majority of consumers are aware of the intense competition between credit cards and the wide range of interest rates and fee options that competition produces. They know whether they are getting a good deal or not and most are saying they have a competitive interest rate and annual fee," said Robert H. Heller, president and chief executive officer of Visa U.S.A.
 Need for consumer credit education
 The ORC study also showed that virtually all bankcard owners (94 percent) feel they use their credit cards in a responsible manner. And, while 27 percent of bankcard owners agree with the statement, "I'd like to have more education regarding using credit cards wisely," when compared to other activities, most bankcard owners have a low level of interest in learning more about credit card fees and interest rates. Only 13 percent of bankcard owners would like to know more about fees and charges.
 "Conducting effective consumer education programs is a real challenge when data like the ORC Information Services study shows that consumers would actually rather mow the law than read information about their credit cards (A). However, there can be no doubt about the importance of equipping consumers with the necessary credit management skills. It is incumbent on organizations like Visa to overcome consumer resistance to education with creative, attention-getting programs," said Mr. Heller.
 Two such initiatives developed by Visa are "Credit Cards: An Owner's Manual" with humorous Cathy cartoons by well-known cartoonist, Cathy Guisewite, and "Choices & Decisions: Taking Charge of Your Life," an interactive, multimedia education program for high school students to teach them financial and consumer life skills.
 As part of National Credit Education Week which starts on April 19, Visa is highlighting Credit Cards: An Owner's Manual, available to consumers free of charge when they call 1-800-VISA-511. Credit Cards: An Owner's Manual is a 24-page brochure that deals in a frank, easy-to- read manner with such topics as how to get a credit card, the benefits of owning one and how a credit card works. It covers factors affecting their cost, rules and regulations and cardholder rights.
 Telephone interviews were conducted by ORC Information Services among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults 18 years of age and older in the continental United States. The survey was conducted during the period April 8 through April 11, 1993. The results are given for the 601 who identified themselves as owning a bank credit card, such as a Visa or MasterCard. The statistical margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.
 Results of the survey conducted by The Gallup Organization are based on telephone interviews with a national sample of 1,000 adults, 18 years of age or older who own any multipurpose charge card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Optima, Diners, Carte Blanche). Interviewing was conducted during the first week in March 1993. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings or opinion polls.
 Visa is the largest consumer payment card system in the world with more than 10.5 million acceptance locations and 304 million cards issued worldwide, including 149 million in the United States.
 NOTE: (A) 36 percent of adults surveyed (including bankcard owners) would rather mow the lawn than read information about credit card fees and interest rates (seven percent). In fact, reading about credit card fees and interest rates are of less interest than cleaning the house (24 percent) or visiting the in-laws (19 percent).
 -0- 4/19/93
 /CONTACT: David Brancoli of Visa USA, 415-570-3830/


CO: Visa USA ST: California IN: FIN SU:

LD -- SF005 -- 7142 04/19/93 08:02 EDT
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Date:Apr 19, 1993
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