Banks looking to grow credit card receivables face the problem of wooing the right borrowers into their programs. Since the credit crisis, they have restricted new accounts to consumers with pristine credit, but these customers continue to pay down outstanding their outstanding balances while newer cardholders use the plastic like a debit card, paying it off each month.
Reaching a little further down the credit spectrum is one of the few ways to grow this business. In doing so, banks are extending credit to consumers who have been shut out of the market since the credit crisis. Subprime borrowers, those with FICO scores below 660, back in the mid-2000s, represented roughly a third of issuance.