Survey: Credit card interest rates stuck at 14.96% for a 4th week
By Kelly Dilworth | Published: July 17, 2013
|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: July 17, 2013|
Interest rates on new credit card offers held steady again this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
The national average annual percentage rate (APR) remained stuck at 14.96 percent Wednesday for the fourth consecutive week.
Over the past month, issuers have left most card offers alone, causing the national average to stay the same. Some issuers have been more active, adding new cards to their credit card lineups and discontinuing others.
Capital One, for example, recently introduced two new, cash-back credit cards: the Quicksilver Rewards card for consumers with excellent credit and the QuicksilverOne Rewards card for consumers with average credit.
Both cards offer slightly more cash back than Capital One's Cash Rewards credit cards, which are no longer being promoted online, but feature the same terms. Cardholders who qualify for a Quicksilver card can now earn 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase -- up from 1 percent offered by the older Cash Rewards cards.
The extra amount that consumers can earn is a strong incentive pushing cardholders to spend. However, according to new data on consumer spending, many Quicksilver cardholders may still hold back.
Retail spending remains
Consumers spent slightly more in June than they did the previous month, according to the Commerce Department -- a positive sign for credit card issuers that are eager to see cardholders spend more.
However, according to a fresh report issued July 15, fewer consumers are spending their money at retail stores or at restaurants, which is where consumers usually use their cards. Instead, many are sprucing up homes with new furniture and replacing worn out cars instead.
Overall, retail and food service sales grew a modest 0.4 percent in June, according to advance monthly estimates from the Commerce Department -- far below economists' expectations. (The median estimate among 82 economists polled by Bloomberg News was 0.8 percent growth -- twice the actual rate.)
Automobile and furniture sales drove most of June's growth in spending, according to the report, showing that consumers are feeling confident enough in the economy to invest in big-ticket purchases. Automobile sales rose 2.1 percent in June, while furniture sales grew 2.4 percent. Non-store sales, such as online purchases, also grew substantially in June, rising by 2.1 percent.
Despite spending more on new furniture and cars, consumers still aren't visiting stores and restaurants at the rate economists predicted. Spending at miscellaneous store retailers, for example, fell 2.5 percent in June. Department store spending fell 1 percent.
More consumers also chose to cook at home rather than eat out last month, causing a 1.2 percent drop in business for restaurants and bars. In addition, consumers spent less on building materials and garden supplies, as well as on consumer electronics and appliances.
Consumers' reluctance to spend on nonessential items, such as retail goods and meals out, is a bad sign for the still-vulnerable U.S. economy, since economic growth in the U.S. depends on consumer spending.
Economists had hoped that economy would speed up in 2013 as employers add jobs at a faster rate, giving consumers more security to spend.
However, despite enjoying a significantly improved job market this year, consumers are still cautious with their cash and appear to be unwilling to spend more on nonessential goods and services.
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