Banks increasing issuance of credit cards

Banks have increased the issuance of credit cards recently, causing speculation that the card industry is attempting to shift consumers away from debit cards in response to the Durbin Amendment.

From May 2010 to May 2011, the number of new bankcards issued increased by 27 percent, according to

New bankcards saw a three year high between January and May of this year, with almost 15 million new bankcards issued. During that same period in 2007, 28.5 million credit cards were issued.

Observers say there has been a boost in direct mail solicitations for credit cards.

In the third quarter alone, Citi mailed over 346 million card offers throughout North America, while American Express, JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America also stepped up their direct mail offerings, reports.

Citi has surpassed JP Morgan Chase, the longtime leader in direct mail solicitations.

The push towards credit cards is likely a result from banks trying to hold onto profits as the Durbin Amendment dramatically sliced into their debit card interchange revenue. Many card issuers are also doing other things to make debit the less preferred payment solution, including adding new fees and eliminating rewards for debit cards.

The Durbin Amendment does not apply to credit card interchange rates.

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