Rate survey: Credit card interest rates remain still at 15%
By Kelly Dilworth | Published: October 10, 2012
Interest rates on new credit card offers remained fixed at 15 percent Wednesday, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
|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: Oct. 10, 2012|
This is the fourth straight week that the national average annual percentage rate (APR) on new card offers has remained at 15 percent.
None of the cards CreditCards.com tracks featured rate changes this week. However, one issuer, American Express, did sweeten the promotional offer on one of its airline credit cards.
The JetBlue card from American Express previously featured an introductory APR of 3.90 percent on balance transfers for six months. Now, qualified applicants will receive a slightly higher promotional rate of 3.99 percent on balance transfers for nine months, rather than six.
The card's latest offer helps set it apart from its competitors. Among the seven airline-affiliated cards that CreditCards.com tracks, only one other card, the U.S. Airways Premier World MasterCard from Barclays, offers new cardholders a short-term promotional rate on balance transfers.
The number of airline-affiliated cards that also feature balance transfer offers appears unlikely to change any time soon.
For most of 2012, issuers have left the majority of online credit card offers alone, according to CreditCards.com research. That's in sharp contrast to previous years when issuers frequently tested new offers.
Experts say issuers are remaining cautious until the economy substantially improves.
Survey: Consumers prefer to bank online
Consumers' banking preferences, meanwhile, are shifting quickly, according to new research, forcing banks to prepare for a new, more technologically savvy type of customer.
For example, the number of consumers who say they prefer to take care of their finances on the Web, rather than visit a brick-and-mortar bank is on the rise, according to a new survey from the American Bankers' Association (ABA).
Thirty-nine percent of banking customers say they do most of their banking online -- up from 36 percent in 2010, according to the survey. By contrast, just 18 percent of consumers say they prefer to visit a bank in person -- down from 25 percent in 2010.
Meanwhile, the number of consumers who say they prefer to bank online using a mobile device has doubled since 2010. The percentage of people who say they mostly bank with their mobile devices is still small, accounting for just 6 percent of the survey's respondents.
However, young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 largely drove the technology's recent surge in popularity, according to the ABA. So as more young people come of age who are comfortable using mobile technology for everyday needs and begin using banking services more regularly, usage will become more widespread. Young people are traditionally more comfortable with the relatively new banking technology than older groups, who tend to be more suspicious of the security risks that come with mobile banking.
According to the survey, 15 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds said they did most of their banking using a mobile device, such as a Blackberry, iPhone or iPad. However, the survey didn't measure how many people regularly use a combination of banking options, depending on their specific need.
"These results show customers are embracing new technologies that make managing a bank account simpler, easier and more convenient," said the ABA's Nessa Feddis in a press release. "But that doesn't mean that the traditional bank branch is going anywhere," she added. "Branch design may evolve as a result of declining foot traffic. However, we know that nothing replaces human interaction and that's why branches will never disappear."