Average rates on new card offers remained unchanged this week,
according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate
The national average annual percentage rate (APR) remained at
15.03 percent Wednesday.
Most issuers left interest rates alone this week. Barclays
introduced a slightly higher APR to the Wyndham Rewards Visa
Signature card. However, the change didn't affect the national
average because Barclays still offers the card's lower APR to some
For the fifth time in three months, Barclays also revised the
promotional offer on the US Airways Premier World MasterCard. This
week, Barclays trimmed the airline card's 0 percent balance
transfer offer from 15 months to 12 months. In addition, Barclays
introduced a 12-month, interest-free offer on purchases.
Discover card was also active. The issuer eliminated the
introductory APR on the "it" card for students. Previously,
students had six months to make interest-free purchases.
Holiday shopping forecasts remain mixed
After a sluggish summer, retailers and credit card issuers are now
gearing up for the holiday season. However, uncertainty created by
this month's government shutdown has made it hard for retailers to
predict just how successful they'll be in luring holiday shoppers
A fresh report from Deloitte, released Oct. 22, shows that
before the government shutdown, consumers planned to spend an
average of $35 more this holiday season than they planned to spend
According to the survey, conducted in September, consumers said
they planned to spend, on average, about $421 on holiday gifts this
year -- up from $386 the year before.
Consumers also indicated that they were going to spend slightly
more this holiday season on personal purchases. For example,
according to the survey, consumers said they wanted to spend about
14 percent more this year on something extra for themselves or for
their family members. Respondents also said they were going to
spend about 25 percent more on sprucing up their homes with new
holiday decorations or furnishings.
Analysts at Deloitte say they are encouraged by consumers'
optimism. Before the fiscal crisis threatened to derail the
economic recovery, 54 percent of consumers also told researchers
that they believed the economy was on the upswing.
"The survey reveals a brighter consumer spending outlook that
we've seen in several years," said Deloitte's Alison Paul in a
. "Consumers are feeling more generous about gift spending, and we
are encouraged by their plans to spend more on going out for
celebrations, decorating their homes and treating themselves and
their families to 'early gifts' while holiday shopping this
That said, a separate report from Gallup showed that consumer
confidence took a sharp nosedive directly after the government
shutdown, leading some analysts to speculate that the
two-and-a-half week crisis could negatively impact consumers'
willingness to spend.
According to Paul, the last-minute resolution to the crisis may
soothe consumers' worries for now. "The government shutdown and
debt crisis had the potential to dampen consumer sentiment.
However, the settlement likely averted any significant impact on
the holiday season," said Paul. "The timely resolution of those
issues may also give consumers an extra confidence boost just as
promotions start hitting the stores and the shopping season gets
Other analysts, however, are less optimistic. According to a
survey conducted by the National Retail Federation after the
government shutdown began, consumers told researchers that they
actually planned to spend slightly less this holiday season than
the year before.
"Though the foundation for solid holiday season growth exists,
Americans are questioning the stability of our economy, our
government and their own finances," said the National Retail
Foundation's Matthew Shay in an Oct. 16
. "We expect consumers to set a modest budget for gifts and other
holiday-related purchases as they wait and see what will become of
the U.S. economy in the coming months."
In an Oct. 3 report, the National Retail Federation forecast
that holiday spending should grow modestly this year as long as
uncertainty from the fiscal crisis doesn't significantly derail
consumers' spending plans.
Delayed jobs report shows lackluster growth
Consumer confidence may also be impacted this holiday season by
disappointing jobs growth. According to the Commerce Department's
, released Oct. 22, the economy added 148,000 jobs in September --
well below economists' expectations.
According to a
of 93 economists by Bloomberg News, many predicted that employers
would add at least 180,000 jobs or more to the U.S. economy.
Jobs growth was relatively slow throughout the third quarter. In
August, the economy added 193,000 jobs (revised upward from
169,000). In July, the economy added just 89,000 new jobs.
Card debt fell in August
7 ways to prep for a lean holiday