Credit cards are one of banking's most profitable businesses, earning 10% of the industry's record $43.4 billion in profits for 1993, while making up only 5% of its assets.

But across the industry, there is concern that juicy profits of the past may diminish as interest rates continue to rise and the cost of funds creeps up. As a result of the rate hike, consumers may use their cards less, pay off their balances, and continue to shop for the best deals.

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