Credit card interest rates remain at 15.09 percent

By's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 15.09% 15.09%
Low interest 10.37%
10.37% 10.37%
Cash back 14.98%
Balance transfer 12.82%
Business 12.85%
Student 13.14%
Airline 15.46%
Reward  15.07%
Instant approval 28.00%
Bad credit 22.73%
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: Nov. 5, 2014

Average rates on new card offers held steady Wednesday at 15.09 percent, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

Most issuers left card APRs alone this week. Barclays increased the maximum APR on the NFL ExtraPoints Visa from 22.99 percent to 24.99 percent. But the change didn't affect the national average because considers only the lowest available APR when calculating rates. The NFL card's minimum APR remained unchanged at 14.99 percent.

Barclays also revised the promotional offers on two of its rewards cards. It extended the 0 percent balance transfer period on the Carnival World MasterCard from 12 months to 15 months and eliminated the card's 0 percent APR on purchases. It also introduced a 15-month, 0 percent balance transfer offer to the Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature card as well as a six-month introductory APR on Wyndham time-share purchases.

Heavier card spending
Credit card holders are turning to their cards more often this year, according to third-quarter earnings reports from card network giants Visa and MasterCard.

MasterCard processed 10 percent more transactions in the third quarter of 2014 than it did in the summer of 2013, according to the network's report, released Oct. 30. MasterCard holders also spent approximately 11 percent more between July and September than they did the previous year.  

Visa reported stronger consumer spending this summer as well. Between July and September, Visa card spending jumped 11 percent, according to the report posted Oct. 29. Total transaction volume -- which measures the number of times people swiped their Visa cards -- also rose by approximately 9 percent this summer. 

The card networks' latest earnings figures are welcome news for card issuers trying to tempt cardholders into spending more on their cards. But additional research shows that cardholders' appetite for credit is still relatively fickle.

According to the Federal Reserve's quarterly senior loan officers' survey, released Monday, a number of banks reported seeing weaker demand for new cards in the third quarter of 2014. Most banks said they saw virtually no change in demand.

Cardholders are also remaining exceptionally careful about how much debt they take on and are keeping their balances relatively low. According to TransUnion, average card balances have barely grown since last year -- indicating more cardholders are using their cards as short-term payment tools rather than as long-term loans.

Research published Nov. 3 by Fitch Ratings also showed that cardholders are continuing to repay their debts at record rates. For example, late payments by 60 days or more inched up just slightly in October after falling to a historic low the previous month.

See related: Fed: Card balances fall for the first time in months

Published: November 5, 2014

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