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More than one-third of credit cardholders have paid off and closed credit card accounts since January of last year in response to issuers' actions, and 21% said credit card companies treated them unfairly, according to a poll Consumers Union's Consumer Reports released yesterday. Consumer Reports conducted the telephone poll in July that involved 1,211 U.S. adult credit cardholders. Consumers Union, a Yonkers, N.Y.-based nonprofit organization, publishes Consumer Reports. Some 32% of respondents said they closed their accounts when their issuer slashed their credit limits, hiked interest rates or imposed fees. Moreover, 45% of survey respondents said they were charging less on their credit cards than they did a year earlier, 43% said they were charging about the same amount, and 11% were charging more. Some 54% of survey respondents said they pay their balances in full each month, 33% routinely carry balances up to $10,000, and 13% routinely carry balances exceeding $10,000. Among those carrying balances exceeding $10,000, 44% said they were financially dependent on credit cards to meet their monthly expenses. Some 41% of all respondents said they were "highly satisfied" with their credit card issuer, which Consumer Reports says makes credit cards one of the lowest-rated services the firm evaluates.

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