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CONSUMERS WANT MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CREDIT CARD RIGHTS/COSTS

 WASHINGTON, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- A national survey conducted by Opinion Research Corp. of Princeton, N.J. (ORC) has found that large majorities of consumers continue to want more information about credit card rights, costs and benefits. Moreover, consumers who most want this information are those who need it the most -- the young, those with large credit card balances, and those worried about paying off credit card debts.
 "Last year, almost one million Americans declared personal bankruptcy," said Bankcard Holders of America executive director Gerri Detweiler. "Consumers clearly need information to help them manage credit, and to know what their rights are when they can't pay the bills."
 The survey was the second annual consumer credit survey sponsored and developed by the Consumer Federation of America, Bankcard Holders of America, and AT&T Universal Card Services. The release of its results was timed for National Credit Education Week.
 "The only way to learn what's on consumers' minds is to ask them," said Peter Gallagher, senior vice president-corporate and consumer affairs at AT&T Universal Card Services. "This survey will help consumer educators tailor their programs to meet consumers' current needs."
 Specific findings of the survey include the following:
 -- 65 percent of those who own one or more credit cards indicated
 that it is important for them to "receive more information about
 the costs and benefits of different types of credit cards."
 -- 77 percent said it is important for them to "receive more
 information about your credit card rights."
 -- The groups most likely to want additional information are the
 young, Hispanics, those with large credit card balances, and
 those worried about meeting credit card payments.
 -- Respondents cited several sources that they would first turn to
 for more information about credit cards. The most educated are
 much more likely to consult written sources (e.g., government
 publications and libraries) than are the least educated. The
 latter, many of whom said they "don't know," are most likely to
 turn to family or friends.
 -- 93 percent said that high school students should be required to
 take instruction in money and credit management.
 Seventy-two percent said that credit card rates are "too high," and another 17 percent said that they were "somewhat too high." A majority (53 percent) are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" about meeting monthly credit card payments. But only 4 percent said that, if they did not have a credit card, it would be "harder for them financially."
 "Even though consumers have reduced their overall indebtedness, they remain highly concerned about credit card rates and debts," said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America.
 The 1993 findings are strikingly similar to those for 1992. There was, however, a moderate decline in the proportion who said that credit card rates were too high (79 to 72 percent). This decline may reflect an increase in the marketing of cards charging less than the 18 percent bank card average.
 ORC surveyed 971 adults broadly representative of the adult U.S. population. The 677 who said they hold at least one credit card were asked the eight questions about their attitudes toward these cards. The survey results are accurate within plus or minus four percentage points.
 To help consumers learn more about credit costs, benefits and their rights, the groups released a new directory of credit education materials. "Take Charge of Your Credit: A Consumer Guide to Credit Education Resources" is being offered free to consumers. The directory lists sources of free and low-cost credit education materials available through the government and nonprofit organizations. A free copy of this publication is available through the National Institute for Consumer Education by sending a business-sized, self-addressed, stamped envelope to: NYCE, Dept. TC, 207 Rackham Building, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI 48197.
 To obtain copies of the survey questions and report, call Janet Koehler, executive director of consumer affairs, AT&T Universal Card Services Corp., at 904-443-8809.
 AT&T Universal Card Services Corp. provides marketing and services for the AT&T Universal Card, currently the second largest bank card program. Bankcard Holders of America is a national, nonprofit credit education organization with 65,000 consumer members nationwide. Consumer Federation of America is a federation of 250 pro-consumer groups that seeks to advance the consumer interest through advocacy and education.
 -0- 4/20/93
 /CONTACT: Alisa Feingold, 202-737-0766; Gerri Detweiler of Bankcard Holders of America, 703-481-1110, ext. 18; or Mitch Montagna of AT&T Universal Card Services, 904-443-8896/


CO: AT&T Universal Card Services; Bankcard Holders of America;
 Consumer Federation of America ST: District of Columbia, Florida, Michigan IN: FIN SU:


JJ-AW -- FL001 -- 7879 04/20/93 09:48 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 20, 1993
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