CardRatings.com Educates Consumers, Grades Companies

by Jamie Walden  on Monday, Jan. 18, 2010 12:00 am  

Curtis Arnold

Although CardRatings.com is now owned by a larger firm, Arnold has kept the operation of five employees at its existing location in downtown North Little Rock.

CardRatings.com generates revenue through online advertisement sales. The model is similar to Google Adwords; however, advertisers pay CardRatings.com for actual sales leads instead of click-throughs.

Arnold said only about 10 to 15 percent of the cards that it lists advertise with his firm, and advertisers are warned that advertising won't improve their ratings.

All About The Ratings
CardRatings.com's main function has been to call out dangerous credit offers and to praise banks that offer good credit terms.

"The premise I had for CardRatings.com initially was rewarding those folks that had friendly credit card terms and conditions by higher ratings," Arnold said.

CardRatings.com recently put its money where its mouth is by releasing "best of" lists. Arnold lists what he considers to be the best credit card offers of 2009 by category. The categories are: best cash-back cards, best airline and travel cards, best low interest rate cards, best low introductory interest rate cards, best reward points cards, best cards for consumers with poor or bad credit, most innovative cards and the most innovative new program.

Arnold noted that several cards issued by Arkansas banks populated the list. Simmons First National Bank of Pine Bluff and Iberiabank FSB of Little Rock (formerly Pulaski Bank & Trust) compose the best low interest rate credit card category. Arnold had kind words for the institutions.

"Simmons Bank - who has been doing business the old fashioned way, who has had high credit standards from day one and they haven't really changed their credit standards coming out of this credit crunch - has come out smelling like a rose," Arnold said. (For more on Simmons, see story on Page 1.)

Arnold said it's been exciting and gratifying to be on part of the sweeping change that the industry will experience when the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility & Disclosure Act of 2009 takes effect. (See sidebar.)

"We were part of this on the forefront of helping to create some massive changes for this industry that has been so associated and so notorious for the credit card fine print that everyone has grown to hate and that has really given this industry a black eye," he said.

Dealing with the CARD Act (Sidebar)
In the long run, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility & Disclosure Act of 2009 is a positive piece of legislation, according to Curtis Arnold, founder of CardRatings.com. However, in the short-term, the industry will devise clever, and perhaps devious, ways to offset revenue losses sustained from the regulation, he said.

Experts have predicted that the CARD Act will cost the credit card industry as much as $50 billion in lost revenue, Arnold said.

 

 

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