In 2002, NatWest bank in the United Kingdom launched their own Black Card, which is only available to customers with an income of £75,000 or above and over 25 years of age. Approval is subject to status and conditions. The NatWest Black Card has an annual fee of £250, with a minimum credit limit £15,000. The card has a typical 51.8% APR (variable), and cardholders are therefore advised to make more than minimum balance payments. Benefits of the card include personal assistance for gift-shopping and event planning; executive airport lounge access; NatWest YourPoints redeemable for flights; roadside assistance throughout the UK and Europe; card and purchase protection; travel insurance; exclusive offers and access to prestigious events; and, home emergency coverage.
Steps have been taken by the Federal Reserve, the Office of Thrift Supervision, and the National Credit Union Administration to change behaviors and practices by Credit Card companies by July 1, 2010; The net result will prohibit:
- Raising interest rates on existing balances unless payments are greater than 30 days late
- Charging Late Fees if borrower has not been given at least 21 days to pay
- Applying payments in a way that results in higher interest rates getting paid last
Banks and Credit Card Companies in this $970 Billion Dollar industry exclaim that this will result in higher interest rates and fees for the sub prime credit market, however, consumers welcome the changes in practices. The changes come in line with the latest Fitch Retail Credit Index, showing current 60-day deliquencies increasing by nearly 24% from August to 4.8%. This may make those luxury credit card consumers even more attractive to credit card companies, as they have less leeway to charge the sub prime credit borrowers going forward.