Rate survey: Credit card interest rates remain at 14.93 percent
By Kelly Dilworth
|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: May 1, 2013|
Interest rates on new credit card offers held steady this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
The national average annual percentage rate (APR) remained at 14.93 percent Wednesday after falling the previous week for the first time in more than two months.
The majority of credit card issuers left offers alone. Among the 100 cards in the CreditCards.com database, only one -- the Discover "it" for students card -- featured an offer change this week.
Discover eliminated the zero percent promotional APR on its flagship "it" card for college students. Previously, students had six months to make interest-free purchases.
Discover appears to be keeping a close watch on its newest student credit card. For example, the issuer has tested a number of offers on the Discover "it" for students card in recent months, including a short-lived, nine-month promotion on purchases.
The card, introduced in December, has seen its promotional change at least three times.
Consumer spending up again, a bit
Credit card issuers hoping for a strong rebound in consumer spending this year received mixed news this week.
Consumer spending rose in March, according to a report released April 29 by the Commerce Department. However, the uptick in spending was small -- rising by just 0.2 percent.
Compared to February, when consumer spending rose by a much more robust 0.7 percent, March's increase appeared especially weak.
The good news is that the economy is still inching forward. Despite slightly higher taxes and ongoing weakness in the job market, consumers are weathering the persistently stagnant economy relatively well.
For example, March's modest build-up in spending marked the fifth consecutive monthly increase in consumer spending since November 2012.
Some consumers also received small raises this spring. Income rose by 0.2 percent in March, according to the Commerce Department. This is the second straight month that personal income has increased.
rose in April
Consumer spending may also pick up later this spring if consumers' renewed confidence in the economy translates into extra spending, particularly as the weather warms up and encourages consumers to get out of their homes and go shopping after a harsh winter.
Consumers told pollsters in April that they were feeling significantly better about the economy's near-term future than they were in March, according to a survey released April 30 by the Conference Board.
"Consumer confidence improved in April, as consumers' expectations about the short-term economic outlook and their income prospects improved," said the Conference Board's Lyn Franco in a statement accompanying the report.
For example, more consumers said they expected business conditions to improve over the next six months, making it easier for some to get a new job, while fewer consumers said they expected business conditions to worsen.
More consumers also reported feeling more confident about the job market going forward and a larger number expect to get raises sometime soon.
That said, it's not yet clear whether consumers' latest surge in optimism is a trend that will last, said Franco.
"Consumers' confidence has been challenged several times over the past few months by such events as the fiscal cliff, the payroll tax hike and the sequester," said Franco in a statement. "While expectations appear to have bounced back, it is too soon to tell if confidence is actually on the mend."
Published: May 1, 2013
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