Credit card interest rates steady at 15.06 percent
|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: Sept. 3, 2014|
Average credit card interest rates remained unchanged this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
The national average annual percentage rate (APR) remained at 15.06 percent Wednesday after increasing by .03 percent the previous week.
Most issuers left interest rates alone. The sporting goods store Cabela's reduced the lowest available APR on the Cabela's Club Visa from 15.15 percent to 15.14 percent. But the change was too small to affect the national average. Cabela's also lowered the maximum available APR to 21.14 percent.
USAA was also active this week. The bank introduced a 12-month 0 percent balance transfer offer to at least two of its credit cards: The USAA World MasterCard and the USAA American Express card.
Meanwhile, the retail giant Wal-Mart retooled its co-branded credit card. The Wal-Mart Discover card is now the Wal-Mart MasterCard.
Consumer spending stalls
Pinched by sluggish wages, consumers reduced their spending this summer after modestly increasing it in June. Consumer spending fell in July for the first time since January, according to the Commerce Department.
Substantially less was spent on durable goods, such as new cars and appliances. Slightly less was spent on nondurable goods such as food and clothing.
Prices rose more slowly last month, increasing by just 0.1 percent, after inching up by 0.3 percent in June, according to Labor Department figures.
But wage growth also slowed, crimping consumers' spending power. According to the Commerce Department, personal incomes grew by just 0.2 percent in July after increasing by half a percent in June. The last time wages grew this slowly was in 2013.
The tepid numbers released Friday by the Commerce Department underscore just how far the economy still has to go to recover from the Great Recession, which formally ended more than five years ago. Consumer spending powers approximately 70 percent of U.S. economic growth. But over the past six years, many have been reluctant to spend as heavily as they did before the 2008 financial crisis.
A Gallup poll released Tuesday also showed that consumers' appetite for spending has waned. Year-over-year, spending on nonessential purchases such as sporting equipment and meals out was essentially unchanged last month. Consumers spent an average of $94 per day at retail stores, gas stations, restaurants and stores online -- down from $95 in August 2013.
Earlier this summer, spending had increased to a six-year high -- thanks in part to heavy retail traffic during the Memorial Day weekend. But consumers have since pulled back and are once again spending more conservatively. Consumer spending is still substantially higher than it was throughout the recession and the first several years of the recovery. But it's still well below pre-recession levels.
"Throughout 2014, the monthly averages in Americans' self-reported spending have consistently exceeded figures in the same months for each year from 2009 through 2012 -- both during and after the recession," said Gallup's Justin McCarthy in a news release. "But spending is still below the $100 averages routinely seen in 2008 before the financial crisis occurred in the fall."
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