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Finally! Good news from credit card industry

By Jen Haley, producer

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Recently card holders have seen interest rates increase, new and higher fees. and fewer reward programs.

Card issuers are now ramping up those reward programs.

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Citibank (C, Fortune 500), for example, is upping its miles-to-dollars ratio on American Airline-branded cards. Previously you received 1 mile for every dollar you spent. But now you can get 1.2 miles for every dollar you charge. This upgrade won't be available to all cardholders. You have to be a good customer to get the perk.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) is also increasing its miles-to-dollar ratio on it's co-branded British Airways cards. Cardholders can get 1.25 miles for every dollar spent. The company is also letting you rack up more rewards on its Marriott-branded cards.

Chase's Freedom card gives you cash back on some purchases and has upped the payout to 5% on certain purchase categories. That's from the 3% cardholders were getting for most purchases. And that's one perk that has a lot of credit card experts excited.

So, why are reward programs getting sweeter just as credit card companies are losing income from new credit card regulations?

There are a few reasons. First, using a reward card builds loyalty. Second, the people who use reward cards typically aren't the folks at risk of defaulting. Another big reason: the more stuff you charge, the more fees the credit company makes from the merchant you buy from. These interchange fees come out to be about 1 to 2% of the transaction. And that money goes right into the pockets of the credit card issuer.

A new 'gold credit card'

We want to tell you about a new credit card coming out soon that's backed by the value of gold bullion. YOUR gold bullion. That is, if you happen to have some lying around. Otherwise, you can buy gold from the company behind the card.

Here's how it works: the gold is held big deposit center -- and your Gold Bullion Credit Card limit is 75% of the value of that gold. But consumer beware. If the price of gold drops significantly, the bank may have the option of selling your gold or dropping your credit limit. On the other hand, if gold values rise, you could see a higher credit limit.

Bottom line: try to get a regular credit card and investigate other credit cards that are secured with cash. And watch out for fees. The Gold Bullion Card has annual and storage fees. The APR is expected to be low, from 8 to 13% says Jeff Silver, VP of marketing for the Gold Bullion Credit Card.

Experts are wary about its benefits. "This could be a stick of dynamite waiting to explode on some folks," says Curtis Arnold of Cardratings.com. But he says there are some times when a card like this will serve a purpose. "If you don't have cash but you do have gold bullion lying around and the price of gold remains high, this could make sense," he says.

Talkback: Have you changed how much you charge on your credit card each month? To top of page

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