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Subprime Borrowers Now Landing Unsecured Credit Cards with Ease

Borrowers of all credit stripes are now finding it relatively easy to access unsecured lines of credit, according to an article that appears over at the Detroit Free Press.


Now that the financial collapse of 2008, as well as much of its acute fallout, is in the past, says personal finance columnist Susan Tompor, we’re seeing the largest number of consumers with credit cards since 2005. Citing data provided by TransUnion, Tompor reports that well over 170 million Americans were able to access a credit card as of the end of Q1 2017, which is the highest such number in the last 12 years. Additionally, writes Tompor, almost 22 million more people have cards now than the number who did back in 2010.

A big part of the reason behind the significant jump in the number of folks armed with plastic money is that issuers seem more comfortable granting unsecured cards to people who are subprime borrowers – those with credit scores and histories that are far below “excellent.”

According to TransUnion’s Paul Siegfried, it turns out that subprime borrowers are the group that saw the fastest rate of growth in card issuance over the last two years. Right now, according to Siegfried, there are just over 16 million consumers with subprime credit profiles – typically defined as having a credit score of 600 or less – who have credit cards, and the rate of growth continues to surge; the number of subprime borrowers gaining cards was up about nine percent in Q1 2017, which is far ahead of the growth seen within other risk categories.

By Robert G. Yetman, Jr.