Rate survey: Credit card rates reach another record high
By Kate Tomasino | Published: September 28, 2011
|CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report|
|Avg. APR||Last week||6 months ago|
|Methodology: The national average credit card APR is comprised of 100 of the most popular credit cards in the country, including cards from dozens of leading U.S. issuers and representing every card category listed above. (Introductory, or teaser, rates are not included in the calculation.)|
|Updated: Sept. 28, 2011|
Interest rates on new credit card offers edged up to another record high this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
The average annual percentage rate (APR) rose to 14.97 percent, up from the previous high of 14.96 percent, where the rate had stood the previous two weeks. The national APR average has set record highs three times in the past five weeks, marking the first time since CreditCards.com began tracking rates in 2007 that records have been broken so frequently.
Chase spurred the increase, raising the rate on its Marriott Rewards Visa Signature card from 14.24 percent to 15.24 percent. Chase spokesman Steve O'Halloran confirmed the changes.
"Chase offers a number of cards with different rates and benefits, which is why we encourage customers to choose the card that is best for them said," O'Halloran said.
Chase wasn't the only bank tweaking rewards cards this week. Barclays spokesman Kevin Sullivan confirmed that the issuer raised the top end of the APR range offered for its National Football League Extra Points Visa from 17.74 percent to 22.74 percent. The low end stayed at 13.74 percent. However, since only the low ends of APR ranges are used in our calculations, the national average was not affected by Barclays' move.
Barclays took over the NFL card in 2010, as Bank of America's 15-year association with the hugely popular league ended. The NFL Visa is one of the only remaining co-branded sports cards available on the market. Bank of America's MLB Extra Bases MasterCard is the only other one that we track, after BofA stopped marketing its NASCAR Race Points Visa in June.
Of the nine categories CreditCards.com tracks, only the rewards card national APR average moved, rising from 14.59 percent to 14.61 percent. This marks the highest that category has been in 2011. The last time the APR for rewards credit cards reached this level was the summer of 2010, when rewards card APRs typically reach their peak.
The Marriott Rewards Visa Signature card's APR (15.24 percent) is largely in line with the average APR for rewards cards. However, the top end of the APR for the NFL Extra Points Visa (13.74 percent to 22.74 percent) is well above that average. Barclays also offers the card with the highest APR of the 76 rewards card we track: the U.S. Airways Premier World MasterCard offers an APR range of 15.99 percent to 24.99 percent.
Though rates continue to creep higher, they have been far less volatile throughout most of 2011 than in previous years. The weekly average has changed only 19 times in 2011, compared to 32 times by this same time last year. The stability may be due to issuers finding their footing in the wake of the Credit CARD Act of 2009.
Credit card charge-offs and delinquencies are also showing signs of stability, according to a Moody's Analytics report. Credit card delinquency rates reached an all-time low for the third straight month in August and the charge-off rate index is now more than 400 basis points lower than its level a year ago. Moody's analysts predict that trend to continue throughout the remainder of 2011.
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