December 10, 2014: Average rates on new credit card offers held at 14.95 percent this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report
The national average annual percentage rate (APR) held steady at 14.95 percent Wednesday.
Issuers did not make any annual fee or promotional offer changes for the third week in a row.
It has also been nearly a month since low interest, balance transfer, student, airline, instant approval cards and cards for those with bad credit have seen average rate changes — up or down — from current standings.
Overall, average rates are still at their lowest since September 2013, when the national average hit 14.99 percent. The 2014 national average APR has decreased slightly to 15.02 percent.
Holiday shopping data mixed
Merchant data from this year’s Black Friday shopping weekend — Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday — shows only a small increase in consumer spending, despite extended shopping hours.
Overall retail spending increased 5.3 percent compared to 7.4 percent last year, according to First Data’s 2014 SpendTrend Holiday Shopping Spend Analysis. The average retail transaction decreased from $75.86 to $74.66 this year as well.
Traditional Black Friday shopping hours between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. showed a decline in popularity this year, as more consumers took advantage of Thanksgiving Day shopping between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. However, online shopping remained popular as consumers favored early-morning Cyber Monday sales the most.
This year consumers spent the most money on building materials and garden equipment, furniture and home furnishings, and electronics and appliances, retail categories that showed 10.4 percent, 10 percent and 8.6 percent growth, respectively.
Clothing and accessories purchases were not as popular, as data shows a steep year-over-year growth rate drop to 3 percent from 8.9 in 2013.
Credit card use rises
“Despite only modest [overall] growth from last year, there were some encouraging signs in the data, including a shift from debit to credit card usage,” Krish Mantripragada, First Data’s senior vice president of information and analytics solutions, said in the analysis news release.
Shoppers used credit cards more for Black Friday weekend purchases this year than in the past three years. According to First Data statistics shared with CreditCards.com via email, 43.6 percent of the dollars spent over the five-day shopping weekend were charged to credit cards, up from 42.0 percent in 2013.
“The boost in credit spending may indicate that consumers are feeling more confident about their current financial situation, likely driven by the improvement in the labor market and reduction in gasoline prices,” Mantripragada added.
Looking beyond the Black Friday shopping weekend, the average volume of credit card dollars spent this year has also been on the rise. According to First Data, 50.4 percent of consumer dollars spent this year to date have been on credit, up from 47.8 percent in 2013 and 46.3 percent in 2012.
|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: Dec. 10, 2014|