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Credit card interest rates remain at 15.05 percent

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CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 15.05%
15.05%
14.94%
Low interest 10.46%
10.46% 10.29%
Balance transfer 12.55%
12.55%
12.62%
Business 12.98%
12.98%
12.98%
Student
13.27%
13.27%
13.16%
Cash back  14.62%
14.62%
14.17%
Airline  14.51%
14.51%
14.63%
Reward 14.90% 14.90%
14.73%
Instant approval 28.00%
28.00%
15.49%
Bad credit 23.48%
23.48%
23.64%
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.
Source: CreditCards.com
Updated: Nov. 13, 2013

Average rates on new card offers remained at 15.05 percent Wednesday, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

The average 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. Introductory (teaser) rates are not included in the calculation.

The national average annual percentage rate (APR) is currently at its highest point since January 2012. For most of 2013, the national average has hovered at or just below 14.96 percent.

On Sept. 4, average rates climbed to 14.99 percent, then ticked up to 15.02 percent three weeks later. Average rates haven't fallen below 15 percent since September. The average APR for the year now stands at 14.97 percent -- just 0.01 percent higher than it was in 2012.

Most card offers remained unchanged this week. Discover reinstated a longer-term promotional offer on its "it" card after briefly shortening the amount of time cardholders could take advantage of interest-free balance transfers and purchases. Cardholders now have 14 months to take advantage of the promotion. 

Spending picks up slightly in September
The holiday shopping season is just around the corner. However, multiple reports show that consumers may not be in the mood to heavily spend this year.

A Nov. 8 report from the Commerce Department, for example, showed that consumer spending ticked up slightly in September. However, the minuscule 0.2 percent gain was smaller than the amount that consumer spending increased the month before.

September's slowdown could be a sign that consumers' appetite for spending is waning. In August, consumer spending picked up by a modest 0.3 percent.

Personal income, meanwhile, rose by a comparatively robust 0.5 percent in September, said the Commerce Department, beating economists' expectations. The consensus of 78 economists polled by Bloomberg News was that income would rise by just 0.3 percent.

Consumers chose to save, not spend, that extra income. The personal savings rate also rose to 4.9 percent in September -- the highest it's been all year, according to multiple reports.    

Americans were reluctant to spend throughout the third quarter, according to a second report from the Commerce Department.

Consumer spending rose by just 1.5 percent in the third quarter of 2013, according to a report released Nov. 7. By contrast, spending rose by 2.3 percent in the first quarter of 2013 and by 1.8 percent in the second quarter.

Tepid spending in the second to last quarter of the year is a bad sign for retailers who are just gearing up for the holiday season. According to an early forecast from the National Retail Federation, the retail industry is predicting holiday sales will be slightly higher than last year.

Economy adds significantly more jobs
While reports from the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters show consumer confidence sunk to an almost two-year low in November, a new report from the Labor Department may help lift consumers' moods.

The U.S. economy added 204,000 jobs in October -- significantly more than economists expected. According to Bloomberg News, economists predicted employers would add just 120,000 jobs to the U.S. economy last month.

The October government shutdown, which lasted more than two weeks, was widely expected to skew the October jobs report numbers (in part because of a drop in federal sector employment) and drag the total number of jobs added to the economy down.

It turned out that private-sector employers weren't nearly as spooked as analysts expected, despite the widespread uncertainty over a possible default on the U.S. government's debt.

Employers in the leisure and hospitality sector (including hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues) added the largest number of jobs to the economy, hiring around 53,000 new workers last month. Retailers also played a significant role in last month's gains, hiring 44,000 new workers. 

Employers also hired substantially more people in August and September as well, according to the Labor Department. Revised figures showed that employers added 238,000 jobs in August (up from 193,000) and 163,000 jobs in September (up from 148,000).

The overall unemployment rate is currently 7.3 percent. 

See related: Credit card balances extend their slide, Fed: Banks loosen credit limits

Published: November 13, 2013


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