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A tale of two vintages: credit limit management before and after the CARD act and Great Recession

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  • Santucci, Lawrence

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)

Abstract

This paper uses tradeline-level credit card data to examine initial credit limits and early credit limit increases before and after the Great Recession and implementation of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 (the CARD Act). I compare two vintages of credit card accounts, those opened in 2005 and 2011; I also follow each vintage for more than two years after the account opening. In general, I find that significantly less credit was extended to approved credit card applicants in 2011 than in 2005. Accounts in the 2011 vintage started out with lower initial credit limits, received fewer limit increases, and received a smaller increase amount in dollar terms. These changes were most pronounced among the riskiest 25 percent of accounts opened in 2011. For this segment of the market, the median initial credit limit fell 66.7 percent to $500, and the median limit increase amount fell by at least 25 percent at each observation point. At the same time, limit increases occurred more often and sooner for this group, perhaps in recognition of the very low starting limits.

Suggested Citation

  • Santucci, Lawrence, 2015. "A tale of two vintages: credit limit management before and after the CARD act and Great Recession," Payment Cards Center Discussion Paper 15-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpdp:15-01
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    File URL: http://www.philadelphiafed.org/consumer-credit-and-payments/payment-cards-center/publications/discussion-papers/2015/D-2015-Credit-Limit-Management.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Calem, Paul S. & Gordy, Michael B. & Mester, Loretta J., 2006. "Switching costs and adverse selection in the market for credit cards: New evidence," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 1653-1685, June.
    2. Brito, Dagobert L & Hartley, Peter R, 1995. "Consumer Rationality and Credit Cards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 400-433, April.
    3. Stefano DellaVigna & Ulrike Malmendier, 2004. "Contract Design and Self-Control: Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 353-402.
    4. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2002. "Do Liquidity Constraints and Interest Rates Matter for Consumer Behavior? Evidence from Credit Card Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 149-185.
    5. Fedaseyeu, Viktar & Hunt, Robert M., 2014. "The economics of debt collection: enforcement of consumer credit contracts," Working Papers 14-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    6. Calem, Paul S & Mester, Loretta J, 1995. "Consumer Behavior and the Stickiness of Credit-Card Interest Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1327-1336, December.
    7. Stango, Victor, 2002. "Pricing with Consumer Switching Costs: Evidence from the Credit Card Market," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 475-492, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    CARD Act; Credit cards; Credit limit increases; Credit limit policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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