Not only are consumers getting less credit card-marketing mail, they also are getting less-desirable offers, according to research by Mintel Comperemedia, a Chicago direct mail-tracking firm.

While direct mail volume dropped 70%, to 391 million card offers in the third quarter, from 1.3 billion a year earlier, it appears that the market has hit bottom and is on the way back up, Mintel said.

However, consumers are getting more offers for cards with variable interest rates, higher balance-transfer fees and shorter introductory annual percentage rates, Mintel claims. "Credit card issuers are cautiously navigating Card Act regulations," Andrew Davidson, a Mintel senior vice president, said in a press release issued late last month. He was referring to the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act passed in May.

"In addition to adjusting their direct-marketing strategy by sending less mail, they're raising rates and fees on existing and new cards."

In the third quarter, for example, the average promoted annual percentage rate was 12.53%, up more than a percentage point from 11.43% in the first quarter, according to Mintel.

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