Interest rates on new credit card offers remained unchanged this
week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate
The national average annual percentage rate (APR) remained stuck
at 15.01 percent Wednesday for the fourth consecutive week.
All but one of the issuers tracked by CreditCards.com left
credit card terms alone this week.
TD Bank shortened the promotional offer on the TD Easy Rewards
Visa card. Cardholders now have just 12 months to take advantage of
interest-free balance transfer offers. Previously, TD Bank's
balance transfer promotion lasted for 18 months.
Most of the balance transfer cards tracked by CreditCards.com
feature similar promotions. Among the 100 cards in the
CreditCards.com database, 24 cards offer a promotional balance
transfer rate for exactly 12 months. Eleven cards feature a
promotional balance transfer offer that lasts longer than a
Credit card issuers are more generous than they used to be with
0 percent balance transfer offers. Shortly after the 2008 credit
crisis, credit card companies sharply reduced the number of 0
percent balance transfer offers they mailed to prospective
Over the past several years, however, 0 percent balance transfer
offers have become much more ubiquitous. A
February 2014 analysis
by the financial services firm Credit Suisse found the number of
offers containing a 0 percent balance transfer promotion increased
significantly in just the past year.
Consumers are also seeing more offers advertising a promotional
purchase APR, according to Credit Suisse. The introductory offers
are designed to attract more customers and encourage them to
Despite the efforts of issuers, new research released this week
suggests that encouraging cardholders to spend more than they
already are continues to be an uphill battle.
Credit card spending growth slows
Credit card holders are still relatively cautious about the number
of purchases they're willing charge to their cards -- and payments
firm First Data Corporation suggests that situation is unlikely to
change anytime soon.
According to First Data's February SpendTrend Report, credit
card spending increased by just 4 percent in February -- down from
4.1 percent in January.
That's the smallest single increase in more than a year,
according to SpendTrend data. The last time credit card spending
increased by less than 4 percent was in September 2012.
Overall, credit card spending growth has slowed down
substantially since 2013. According to an analysis of previous
SpendTrend reports, card spending grew by an average of 7.6 percent
per month in 2013.
In the first two months of 2014, by contrast, spending on credit
cards increased by an average of just 4.05 percent.
Year-over-year, credit card spending growth is also down
significantly. In February 2013, credit card spending increased by
7.9 percent, according to previous First Data reports. That's
nearly twice the amount it grew by in February 2014.
Despite the slower rate of growth in the first two months of the
year, analysts at First Data Corporation say that card spending
overall is still relatively robust.
"Credit card spending growth continues to be strong as consumer
confidence remains pinned near post-recession highs," said First
Data's Krish Mantripragada in a
. That has "fueled consumers' appetite for credit and should
support more spending growth."
Card debt falls in January