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Credit card interest rates remain unchanged

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Interest rates on new credit card offers were unchanged this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report, after banks largely refrained from adjusting their card offers.

The national average annual percentage rate (APR) on new card offers remained at 14.17 percent, as issuers mostly took a break from tweaking the terms for their card products. The only APR change in our database came from Wells Fargo, which increased the rate on one of its cards. Last week, that bank's rate hikes helped APRs move higher following a record five-week run of declines.

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 14.17%
14.17%
12.71%
Low interest 12.04%
12.04% 11.65%
Cash back  12.63%
12.63%
12.08%
Balance transfer 12.80%
12.80%
12.13%
Business 12.96%
12.96%
9.74%
Student 13.87%
13.87%
14.89%
Reward  14.33%
14.33%
13.29%
Airline
14.43%
14.43%
13.60%
Instant approval 15.99%
15.99%
13.32%
Bad credit 19.50%
19.50%
13.74%
Methodology: The national average credit card APR is comprised of 95 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: 5-26-2010

Wells Fargo's latest move was to boost the top end of the APR range for its Wells Fargo College Card, amid routine adjustment of its card pricing. "Wells Fargo regularly evaluates its pricing and adjusts it based on market conditions," Lisa Westermann, assistant vice president of public relations, said in an e-mail.

That increase didn't affect interest rates, however, since CreditCards.com calculates the average rate using the low end of any APR ranges.

An uncommon occurrence
The national average has rarely remained static over recent months. This week marks only the second time in 2010 that rates have remained unchanged. During much of the year, banks experimented with terms for new cards offers amid a tougher regulatory and economic environment. 

In recent months, most of that tinkering has sent rates higher. For example, a typical cardholder who borrowed $5,000 on a credit card today and consistently paid $150 per month at today's average interest rate would have to pay $6,392 to pay off the debt. That's $195 more than would have been required six months earlier. (Calculator: How long will it take to pay off your credit card balance?)

The economy has also made borrowers more cautious. With interest rates largely higher -- and job loss a continuing threat -- the Federal Reserve recently acknowledged that consumers remain hesitant to make purchases on borrowed money. "Consumer credit continued to trend lower in recent months, pushed down by a steep decline in revolving credit," a type of debt mainly comprised of card loans, the Fed said in the minutes of its April monetary policy meeting.

See related: Credit card lending standards keep tightening, Fed report says, Credit card reform arrives in the form of the Credit CARD Act, Calculator: How long will it take to pay off your credit card balance?Credit card rates: interactive graphic on APR changes

Published: May 26, 2010


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