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Credit card APRs fall for second straight week

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Credit card interest rates continued to fall this week, pushed lower by a business credit card. 

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 14.74%
14.77%
14.17%
Low interest 11.87%
11.87% 12.04%
Cash back  12.59%
12.59%
12.63%
Balance transfer 12.80%
12.80%
12.80%
Business 12.91%
13.05%
12.96%
Reward  14.39%
14.44%
14.33%
Airline 14.45%
14.45%
14.43%
Student
14.49%
14.49%
13.87%
Instant approval 15.99%
15.99%
15.99%
Bad credit 24.64%
24.64%
19.50%
Methodology: The national average credit card APR is comprised of about 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: 11-23-2010

The national average annual percentage rate (APR) on new credit cards fell to 14.74 percent this week, according to CreditCards.com's database of card offer information, extending a decline that began the prior week. The recent pullback marks a reversal off record highs set earlier in November.

The average wasn't pushed lower by banks' rate decreases, however; in fact, we noticed no rate moves at all from issuers. Instead, the change was spurred by the addition of a new card -- the Blue for Business card from American Express -- to the CreditCards.com database. The card's APR ranges from 11.24 percent to 19.24 percent. Only the lowest end of APR ranges is factored into our average calculations, and since 11.24 percent is substantially below the national average, it pushed the rate lower overall.

Why make the change?
Data shows that business card lending is increasing, so we felt it was necessary to slightly increase our sampling of business cards.

In the Federal Reserve's recent survey of banks' senior loan officers, for example, 12.2 percent of all lenders reporting raising business credit card limits in the third quarter, while 9.8 percent trimmed credit lines for business cardholders. Among small banks, 26 percent said they had raised business credit card limits, compared with just 4 percent of large banks.   

Businesses, meanwhile, appear to have an increased appetite for borrowing. The Fed's survey showed that 28.1 percent of banks reported an increase in demand from potential business borrowers for new credit lines or increases in existing lines, compared with 14 percent that saw inquiries decrease over the same period.

Still, the economy will need even more business borrowing -- and spending -- to get back on track. In the minutes from its most recent Federal Open Market Committe meeting, released Tuesday, the Fed expressed caution about the pace of business recovery. "Participants variously noted a number of factors that were restraining growth, including low levels of household and business confidence" and "still-weak financial conditions of some households and small businesses," the Fed said. 

See related: Consumer credit card balances plunge more than $8 billion, Banks loosen credit card lending standards, 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: November 23, 2010


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