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Financial Planning: A Midyear Guide 1987 : part four: Borrowing : Help in Monitoring Card Rates

June 21, 1987

The following organizations regularly survey bank credit card rates nationwide and provide information to consumers. Eligibility for the cards will vary from bank to bank, and in all cases consumers must communicate directly with a bank about its individual credit terms.

Consumer Credit Card Rating Service P.O. Box 5219

Ocean Park Station

Santa Monica, Calif. 90405 (213) 392-7720 This rating organization, which also publishes the industry newsletter Nilson Report, offers a Credit Card Locator kit tracking rates, grace periods and fees nationwide. An easy-to-understand-

"matrix system" further enables a consumer to select a card based on his or her individual buying and borrowing habits. Locator kit is $10.

100 Highest Yields P.O. Box 088888 North Palm Beach, Fla. 33408 Weekly consumer-oriented newsletter generally deals with highest returns nationwide on certificates of deposit and other savings instruments. Tracks lowest credit card rates once a month. Subscriptions are $84 a year, $29 for an eight-week trial. Subscription includes pamphlet, "How Safe Is Your Money?", which discusses out-of-state banking, moving money among institutions and other tips.

Bank Credit Card Observer

3086 Old Lincoln Highway, Suite 6

Kendall Park, N.J. 08824-1658

(201) 297-8100 Credit industry newsletter surveys the 200 largest credit card-issuing banks each month on interest rates, grace periods, annual fees, etc. Consumers can write for the "Bank Credit Card Observer Consumer Survival Kit," which includes a list of the 10 banks currently offering the lowest rates on cards, a list of five banks offering no-fee cards and suggesting 12 questions to ask before using any bank's credit card. Include check for $8.

Bankcard Holders of America 333 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E. Washington, D.C. 20003 (800) 638-6407 Consumer group provides a list of banks nationwide that charge the lowest interest rates, including addresses, toll-free phone numbers and basic credit terms. Compiles a list of banks that charge no annual fees and offers a pamphlet on how to choose a credit card. Cost to general public is $1.50 for each list (or $2 for both) and $1 for the pamphlet. Other Bankcard Holders of America services and publications deal with consumer rights under federal credit laws; responses to credit card inquiries will include a list of services.

Consumer Action 693 Mission St. San Francisco, Calif. 94105 (415) 777-9635 Consumer group reports on banking rates and practices and other issues in bimonthly newsletter called Consumer ActionNews. Membership in the group costs $15 for individuals and $10 for seniors, and includes a subscription to the newsletter. For specific information about low-rate credit cards in California and out of state, ask for the Consumer Action Credit Card Survey and send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the above address. There is no charge for the survey.

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