Credit card interest rates end year at 15.06 percent
A year of stability ends with APRs 0.1% higher than a year ago
|CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
||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: Dec. 31, 2013
rates on new card offers held firm this week, according to the CreditCards.com
Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
national average annual percentage rate (APR) remained at 15.06 percent Tuesday
for the seventh straight week.
the cards tracked by CreditCards.com advertised new interest rates. Promotional
terms, including introductory APRs and balance transfers, remained unchanged as
Rates remain stable
According to CreditCards.com data, 2013 was the most stable year for credit
card APRs since CreditCards.com began tracking rates in mid-2007.
(See chart: Credit card APR movement slows to a crawl)
Throughout 2013, the national average APR stayed in a narrow range, never varying by more than 0.04 percent from one week to the next. It ended up just one-tenth of a percentage
point higher than at the start of 2013.
national average APR changed just 14 times in 2013. In 2012, average rates changed 16 times.
previous years, credit card rates changed far more often. In 2010, when credit
card issuers were contending with new federal regulations that resulted from the
Credit CARD Act of 2009, interest rates increased 23 times and decreased 18
times. By the time 2010 ended, average APRs on new card offers jumped by nearly
2 percentage points over the span of 12 months.
then, card APRs have become substantially more sticky, with most offers
remaining untouched for months -- and sometimes even years -- at a time.
Promotional terms get sweeter
tinkered with promotional terms much more frequently. Since January, for
example, balance transfer offers have gotten longer and promotional APRs have
become more ubiquitous.
the 100 cards CreditCards.com tracks, 35 cards now feature 0 percent interest
-- or exceptionally low interest -- on purchases for nine months or more.
That's up from 28 cards in early January.
issuers are also giving some cardholders more time to make
interest-free purchases. Thirteen cards, for example, now feature a promotional
APR that lasts for 14 months or more -- up from 11 cards earlier this year.
addition, many issuers have become more generous with promotional balance
transfer offers. Among the 100 cards that CreditCards.com tracks, 33 advertise
a promotional APR on balance transfers for 12 months or more -- up from 28 in
January. Ten of those cards give cardholders even longer -- 15 months or more
-- to take advantage of a promotional balance transfer rate.
Consumers' outlook brightens
meanwhile, have become substantially more optimistic about the future in recent
weeks, after briefly losing confidence in the fall.
to research released Dec. 31, consumers reported feeling better about the
economy's current outlook than they have since 2008.
confidence rebounded in December and is now close to pre-government shutdown
levels," said The Conference Board's Lyn Franco in a statement.
were much more anxious about their income prospects, said Franco, with fewer
consumers expecting a raise in the months ahead. Despite lower income
expectations, consumers have a lot more faith in the job market nowadays than
they did earlier this year.
the many challenges throughout 2013, consumers are in better spirits today than
when the year began," said Franco. Fewer Americans are worried that a job will
be hard to come by if they lose the one they have now. And a significantly larger
number of consumers expect businesses will have an easier time over the
next six months as the economy gradually improves.
|CREDIT CARD APR MOVEMENT SLOWS TO A CRAWL
||No. of weeks rates increased
||No. of weeks rates decreased
||No. of weeks unchanged
|Source: CreditCards.com Weekly Rate Report, a weekly survey that gathers data on 100 of the most widely used credit cards in the U.S.
See related: Fed starts 'taper,' begins weaning off support for low rates, 12 credit card predictions for 2014
Published: December 31, 2013