Poll: More than 1 in 5 credit card customers say they are receiving unsolicited new premium cards

    OTTAWA, April 21 /CNW/ - Results from a national public opinion poll
reveal more than one fifth of Canadians with credit cards have reported
receiving, without asking for them, new premium cards issued in the past year
by companies such as MasterCard and Visa. And among this group that received
these cards unsolicited were the poor, elderly and least educated. The poll
was commissioned by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) to
gain better insight into the attitudes and knowledge Canadians have in regards
to the credit card industry.
    "One possible conclusion to draw from this," said CFIB president
Catherine Swift, "is that the major credit card companies are distributing
these premium cards on only a loosely targeted basis." She noted this would
certainly take the wind out of the sails of any notion claiming that premium
credit cards have been responsibly doled out to those most capable of managing
debt. Swift also said another likely assumption to take from these findings
would be that the card companies are not very concerned about vulnerable
customer segments when it comes to their ability to take on debt. And if that
is true, then she said it would be even worse. People should know what
criteria are being used to determine who does and does not receive these
cards, said Swift.
    When asked whether in the past year credit card holders had received any
new premium cards that provide additional reward programs such as travel
points and additional insurance coverage, 69 per cent of respondents said they
hadn't, while 22 per cent said they had, but not because they'd asked for
them. Another 8 per cent said they had received the premium cards at their own
request. These results are considerably higher than what the card companies
are saying publicly-especially troubling since premiums cards are apparently
showing up at the doorsteps of people in low-income groups. Although some of
this difference may be a result of consumers mistaking premium cards with more
basic rewards cards, it demonstrates there is a huge amount of confusion in
the marketplace-which serves the card companies' interests.
    "These current findings reinforce the need for some form of government
oversight on the credit card industry," said Swift. The Senate hearings on
this issue are a good beginning, she added.
    The poll was conducted by telephone between March 5 and 8 with 1,524
credit card holders. The results are accurate to +/- 2.6 % 19 times out of 20.

For further information:

For further information: Gisele Lumsden at CFIB in Toronto: (416)
222-8022 or Marie-danielle Davis in Ottawa: (613) 235-2373 and/or go to

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Canadian Federation of Independent Business

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