BofA rate hikes push national average credit card APR higher
Higher rates, economic struggles likely to dampen holiday spending
By Jeremy M. Simon | Published: November 25, 2009
Interest rates on new credit card offers rose slightly this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report, as Bank of America increased rates on two of its cards.
|CreditCards.com's weekly rate chart|
|Avg. APR||Last week||6 months ago|
|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.)|
The national average credit card annual percentage rate rose to 12.71 percent, up from 12.68 percent the previous week and 12.24 percent six months ago. The average is calculated from about 95 of the most popular credit cards in the country, including cards from dozens of leading U.S. issuers and representing nine major categories of credit cards. Introductory (teaser) rates are not included in the calculation. Among the average APRs in the nine categories, two jumped higher and seven were unchanged.
This week's increase in the average was due to Bank of America hiking the interest rates on some of its cards. It's far from alone: Two months ago, the average stood at 12.32 percent; six months ago, it was 12.24 percent.
With BofA and many other banks continuing to raise APRs, some experts say cardholders will remain hesitant to charge purchases, limiting the economic recovery. On Tuesday, data showed third-quarter gross domestic product growth was weaker than previously estimated, due to restrained consumer spending.
That trend is likely to continue: A survey released Monday by the Consumer Federation of America and the Credit Union National Association showed that 43 percent of consumers plan to cut back on holiday spending this year, with nearly a quarter of poll respondents expressing concern about meeting monthly credit card payments.
Those numbers represent an improvement over last year's holiday survey, but they still display far more consumer pessimism than the numbers seen before the economic recession began.
"During these recessionary times, more people have been seeking to pay down debt and build up their savings," CUNA Chief Economist Bill Hampel said in a press release."We certainly have seen that behavior among the nation's 92 million credit union members. Our survey indicates the pattern is continuing into the holiday season."
See related: Credit card balances fall sharply again
- Poll: Recurring charges are easy to start, hard to get out of – Thirty-five percent of consumers signed up for accounts that enrolled them in auto-pay without them realizing it ...
- New delinquencies rising for credit card users, New York Fed finds – Newly delinquent credit card accounts are accelerating, a "potentially concerning" trend, New York Fed economists said ...
- 2017 Credit Card Fee Survey: Consumers catch a break – Changes to credit card fees have decreased, foreign transaction fees are going away, and the rest can be avoided ...