Rates remain at 15.03 percent for second week
|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 23, 2014|
Interest rates on new card offers didn't budge this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
The national average annual percentage rate (APR) remained at 15.03 percent.
This is the second week in a row that issuers left credit card interest rates unchanged. Promotional APRs and introductory balance transfer offers were also left untouched.
Credit card issuers rarely modify interest rates these days. The national average APR, for example, has changed just seven times since Jan. 1 in our weekly survey of offers for the 100 most-popular cards.
Over the past seven months, average APRs have declined somewhat, as the national average began the year at 15.06 percent. But year-over-year, average interest rates are higher than they were the previous summer. On July 23, 2013, for example, the national average APR was 14.96.
Average APRs rose to 15.02 percent in late September. They haven't fallen below 15 percent since.
Higher spending is expected in the months ahead
Despite this month's dip in consumer confidence, experts still predict that consumer spending will continue to improve as the economy gathers strength in the months ahead.
According to The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index -- which measures the overall health of the U.S. economy -- the U.S. economy improved significantly last month, pushing the index up by 0.3 percent. That, in turn, has raised analysts' hopes that economic growth will continue to speed up in the final months of 2014.
"The pace of economic activity continued to expand moderately through June," said The Conference Board's Ken Goldstein in a press release. "Stronger consumer demand driven by sustained job gains and improving confidence remains the main source of improvement."
Meanwhile, retailers are busy preparing for back-to-school season and are expecting relatively strong sales this year, according to the National Retail Federation.
According to the group's 2014 Back-to-School survey, families with school-age children expect to spend $34 more on new clothes, electronics and school supplies this summer than they did in 2013 (from $635 in 2013 to $669 in 2014).
While individual families expend to spend more, overall school-related retail sales are likely to dip this year due to a small drop in the number of kids who are school-aged, said the National Retail Federation. Retailers also predict that many parents will be on a strict budget, which could also dampen sales.
"Slow improvements in the economy may have contributed to the growth in confidence among back-to-school shoppers," said the National Retail Federation's Matthew Shay in a press release.
However, parents are unlikely to bust their budgets buying school supplies, he said. "While we are encouraged by the overall tone of the results and expect to see continued improvement in consumer spending through the year, we know Americans are still grappling with their purchase decisions every day. Throughout the history of this survey, spending has fluctuated based on family needs each year, and this summer, we expect parents to continue to use caution."
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