Aug. 12, 2015: Average credit card interest rates remained at 15 percent Wednesday for the 8th consecutive week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
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Interest rates on new credit card offers haven’t budged since the end of June. Most offers have also retained the same promotional terms.
Capital One sweetened its promotional APR deal on two of its business cards this week. Both the Spark Miles Select card and the Spark Cash Select card now sport a 0 percent APR on purchases for nine months — up from a previous offer of six months.
Meanwhile, American Express bumped up the annual fee on the Starwood Preferred Guest card from $65 to $95. It also added new benefits, including no foreign transaction fees and free Internet access in select hotel rooms and Boingo Wi-Fi hot spots.
Americans charging more, but plan to pare back
Americans are continuing to add more debt to their credit cards, according to new research from the Federal Reserve. However, a substantial number also say they plan to halt spending at least somewhat over the next year, which could lead to a slowdown in debt accumulation if enough Americans decide to temporarily hold back.
According to the Fed’s consumer credit report released Aug. 7, revolving debt, which is mostly made up of credit card debt, jumped 7.3 percent in June, expanding to its highest point in more than five years. Other kinds of debt, including student loans and auto loans, also swelled. June marks the fourth straight month that card debt has jumped.
This year’s substantial uptick in debt suggests that many Americans have shed their fear of higher debt loads. However, additional research released earlier this month by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York also suggests consumers still haven’t let go of the frugal mindset they acquired during the recession, despite feeling increasingly comfortable with debt.
According to the New York Fed, household spending expectations for the next year took a tumble last month as fewer consumers planned to increase their spending dramatically. “While earnings and household income growth expectations were largely unchanged, median household spending growth expectations retreated substantially to their lowest level since the inception of the survey in 2013,” said the Fed in an Aug. 10 news release. Older consumers and those with smaller incomes were especially likely to have tamped down expectations. “The drop seems to be more pronounced for respondents over 40 and for respondents with lower education,” said the Fed.
The survey also found that consumers have become less certain about how easy credit will be to access over the next year. Nearly a third of consumers — 32 percent — are afraid that loans will be harder to qualify for a year from now.
Despite consumers’ concerns, lenders say that loans have become somewhat easier to get in recent months, particularly for prime borrowers. However, lenders’ still aren’t making it easy for consumers with poor credit to get a loan. The quarterly Federal Reserve survey of senior loan officers released Aug. 3 found that a significant number of lenders say their bank has actually made it somewhat harder for subprime borrowers to qualify for a loan.
|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: Aug. 12, 2015|