Rate survey: Credit card interest rates begin year at 15.06 percent
By Kelly Dilworth | Published: January 8, 2014
|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: Jan. 8, 2014|
This is the eighth consecutive week that the national average annual percentage rate (APR) has remained locked at 15.06 percent.
Promotional rates on balance transfers and purchases also remained unchanged.
Credit card APRs are currently near record highs and show few signs of dropping significantly any time soon. Over the past four months, issuers have hiked rates on a select number of cards, causing the national average to increase by more than a 10th of a percentage point. As a result, average APRs on new card offers have hovered above 15 percent for the past 16 weeks.
The last time the national average declined was in early August, when average rates fell by 0.01 percent.
Despite the higher rates on new card offers, consumers aren't shying away from spending more on goods and services. After months of anemic spending, consumers increased the total amount they spent in November by a hefty 0.5 percent, according to the Commerce Department.
In addition, new research from Gallup shows that consumers say they spent even more on nonessential purchases in December than they did the month before. According to Gallup's latest consumer spending survey, consumers reported spending more, on average, in December than they have since September 2008 -- the month that the 2008 financial crisis was just beginning to make international headlines.
According to Gallup, consumers spent an average of about $96 per day on discretionary purchases in December. That's the most consumers have spent during the month of December -- a traditionally strong spending month -- since Gallup began tracking daily spending in early 2008.
Consumers say they spent slightly less in November, averaging just $91 per day. In October, consumers spent an average of about $88 per day on nonessential goods and services.
"Spending last year was clearly the most robust since 2008," wrote Gallup's Frank Newport in a Jan. 6 news release. "If the current trends continue, average daily spending could break through the $100 mark on a routine basis, and thus denote a return to levels that characterized spending in pre-recession times."
Private sector jobs
New research from payroll processing firm ADP also reveals some promising news. According to figures released Jan. 8, private employers added more jobs in December than they have since 2012.
Between November and December, employers created 238,000 new jobs -- most of which came from small businesses and the service sector.
Small businesses hired just over 100,000 new workers last month. Service providers hired 170,000 new employees.
Private sector hiring was relatively strong throughout the final quarter of 2013, according to ADP, boding well for 2014. Between October and December, for example, private sector employers hired an average of around 224,000 new workers per month.
In the third quarter of 2013, by contrast, private sector employers hired, on average, around 166,000 new workers each month.
"The job market ended 2013 on a high note," said Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi in a press release. "Job growth meaningfully accelerated and is now over 200,000 per month ... It appears that businesses are growing more confident and increasing their hiring."