Rate survey: Average card rate sits tight at 15 percent
By Kelly Dilworth | Published: August 5, 2015
Interest rates on new credit card offers held still this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
For the seventh week in a row, the national average annual percentage rate remained at 15 percent. None of the cards included in the weekly rate report advertised new interest rates. For the ninth consecutive week, issuers also left promotional terms unchanged.
Issuers have been slow to change credit card terms for most of 2015, but they've been especially inactive this summer. All but two credit card offers included in the rate report have featured the same credit card terms since summer officially began in late June. The last time a card tracked by CreditCards.com advertised a new interest rate occurred during the last full week of June when [%Link?type=article&id=8960&text="Gap bumped up the APR"%] on its retail card.
Card debt swells in Detroit, Phoenix
Consumers living in metro areas that were hit hard by the housing crisis are showing renewed faith in the economy and packing on substantially more debt to their cards, according to research from the credit rating agency Equifax.
Equifax tallied up the total amount of credit card debt belonging to consumers in the 25 biggest metro areas and found consumers living in some of the hardest hit regions, such as Phoenix and Detroit, have increased their debt loads significantly this year. In some especially hard-hit cities, the rate at which card debt grew has more than doubled since 2014. In other metro areas where the economy was less damaged, the growth rate more than tripled, said Equifax.
The credit rating agency also found that the number of cities experiencing marked increases in card debt has evened out significantly over the past year. All 25 metro areas increased their debt loads by at least 3 percent, year-over-year -- up from just eight metro regions in the second quarter of 2014, Equifax said. Total card debt throughout the country jumped 5 percent so far this year, expanding to approximately $634 billion in all by the end of the second quarter. During the same time last year, consumer credit card debt totaled approximately $604 billion.
"These trends suggest that Americans are getting on with their lives," said Equifax spokesman Assad Lazarus in a news release. The increase in the number of metro regions with higher levels of debt is particularly notable since it suggests that the economy is on the upswing all over the United States. Analysts typically interpret increased card debt as a sign that consumers are spending more heavily on nonessential purchases and are more willing to take financial risks with unsecured, higher interest debt. "This shows that Americans are more confident about their financial futures and that means the U.S. economy has entered an expansion mode," said Lazarus.
Additional research released this week also shows that consumers are still managing to repay their debts at record rates, despite borrowing significantly more overall. According to Fitch Ratings, credit card monthly payment rates -- which measure the rate at which consumers pay down their debts -- hit an all-time high last quarter. Late payments on credit cards also remained near record lows, according to Fitch, indicating that many Americans are still paying close attention to their credit scores.
|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: Aug. 5, 2015|
See related: Subprime card applicants still facing tight credit