Average rates on new credit card offers held steady this week,
according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate
The national average annual percentage rate (APR) lingered at
15.01 percent Wednesday for the sixth consecutive week.
None of the issuers tracked by CreditCards.com altered interest
rates this week. However, that's nothing new.
Card issuers rarely change interest rates these days. As a
result, the national average has remained just above 14.9 percent
for the past two years.
In the rare instances that issuers have altered interest rates,
they have increased rates more times than decreased them, according
to CreditCards.com data.
As a result, the national average has slowly ticked up in recent
years. The last time average rates on new card offers fell below 14
percent was in January 2010.
Credit card mailings up, year-over-year
Despite leaving credit card terms, such as card APRs, largely
unchanged, issuers are sending out more offers these days,
from the market research firm Mintel Comperedia. In some cases,
issuers are also sweetening the offers they send.
According to data released March 21, issuers mailed
approximately 10 percent more offers in February than the previous
Card issuers also courted new cardholders more aggressively by
sending out a larger number of offers with some type of
interest-free promotion. Among the 301 million card offers mailed
in February, 232 million featured a 0 percent APR on purchases --
up from 226 million offers in 2013.
Meanwhile, 225 million offers touted a 0 percent balance
transfer deal. That's up from 191 million card offers the year
Analysts at the financial services firm Credit Suisse say
competition between credit card issuers is increasing and could get
fiercer as the year goes on. As a result, analysts predict
substantially more offers will be mailed in 2014 than in 2012 and
In 2013, issuers mailed approximately 3.9 billion offers -- up
from 3 billion offers in 2012. Analysts at Credit Suisse forecast
that number will rise to 4.9 billion offers in 2014 -- 1 billion
more than last year.
If Credit Suisse's prediction holds true, card issuers will send
out more offers this year than they have since 2008. Despite the
measurable increase, consumers still won't see nearly as many
offers as they did before the recession. In 2006, for example, card
issuers mailed 8.1 billion offers -- more than twice the number of
offers they sent last year.
Fed holds course toward higher interest rates