July 1, 2015: Interest rates on new credit card offers remained untouched this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report
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For the third week in a row, the national average annual percentage rate held tight at 15 percent.
None of the cards monitored by CreditCards.com offered new interest rates. Promotional APRs and 0 percent balance transfer offers were also left unchanged.
Average rates on new card offers are currently at their highest point of 2015, but still within the narrow range that credit cards have stalled in since 2011, never straying far above or below the 15 percent mark.
For example, the national average APR for all of 2014 was 15.02 percent. The average APR for 2015 is currently 14.92 percent.
Gen Xers more likely to embrace card debt
Consumers are finally warming up to using credit cards again, according to multiple reports. A June 2015 study from the American Bankers Association found that consumers opened 14 percent more card accounts in the fourth quarter of 2014 than the previous year. But not all age groups are equally comfortable using credit to help pay for their expenses. An April 2015 study from CreditCards.com, for example, found that 36 percent of millennials have never owned a credit card.
Middle-aged consumers are much more likely to own plastic and use it to pay for their expenses. According to a new study from the life insurance company Allianz Life, consumers in the 35 to 48 age range are growing especially comfortable with using credit to help boost their quality of life — and it’s putting their retirement savings at risk.
The company surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults ages 35 to 67 and found members of Generation X (those born between 1967 and 1980) currently carry an average of $8,000 in card debt — $2,000 more than the average baby boomer born sometime between 1948 and 1966.
Around 25 percent of consumers ages 35 to 67 say they owe more than $10,000 to their credit card companies. Thirty-six percent say they owe at least $5,000.
Meanwhile, nearly half of all adults age 35 to 67 (48 percent) see credit cards as a potential “survival tool,” according to the study. But members of Generation X are especially likely to feel as if they have to rely on credit to pay for basic expenses. For example, around 20 percent of Generation Xers say using credit to pay for everyday expenses is “just a fact of life.” Only 14 percent of baby boomers feel the same.
Gen Xers also carried significantly more mortgage debt and student loan debt than older adults, the study found. In addition, middle-aged consumers in their mid-30s and 40s were much more likely to carry a balance on their cards. For example, nearly half of consumers (46 percent) age 35 to 48 said they only paid a fraction of their balance each month. Sixty-eight percent of adults in the 49 to 67 age group regularly pay their balances in full.
According to Allianz Life’s Katie Libbe, Generation X’s reliance on credit could threaten their retirement savings — particularly since a large number of Gen Xers (23 percent) say they need to pay off their cards before they can begin saving for retirement.
“Over the past three decades, there has been a collective shift in how people view debt — it’s now perceived as a normal part of one’s financial experience and that has fundamentally altered the way people spend and save,” said Libbe in a news release. “If Gen Xers continue to delay saving for retirement until they are completely out of debt, their nest eggs are clearly going to suffer.”
|CreditCards.com’s Weekly Rate Report|
|Avg. APR||Last week||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: July 8, 2015|