Interest rates on new credit card offers held steady for the
third straight week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit
Card Rate Report.
The national average annual percentage rate (APR) on new card
offers stayed anchored at 14.98 percent Wednesday. This is the
eighth straight week that interest rates have remained just below
Among the 100 cards that CreditCards.com tracks, only one card
featured a rate change. The sporting goods store Cabela's lowered
the highest available rate on the Cabela's Club Visa card from
18.24 percent to 18.22 percent.
The rate change didn't affect the national average, however,
because CreditCards.com only considers a card's lowest possible
interest rate when calculating average rates.
Every other card in CreditCards.com's database featured the same
rates as last week. Other terms -- on promotional balance transfers
and introductory purchases -- also remained unchanged
Issuers cautious, consumers cut debt
Issuers have refrained from heavily experimenting with offer terms
for most of 2012. In the past eight months, for example, the
national average has moved just 13 times. Promotional offers on
balance transfers and introductory purchase rates also have rarely
Experts say that issuers are remaining cautious about the credit
they extend to new customers due to the slow pace of recovery from
The national unemployment rate has stubbornly remained above 8
percent since 2009 and the number of new jobs created in the past
two quarters of 2012 has fallen far short of economists'
Credit card holders, in turn, appear to be responding to the
rocky economic environment by trimming their credit card balances
and shying away from charging significant amounts.
Since January, credit card debt has fallen five months out of
seven, according to research by the Federal Reserve. Total consumer
credit, meanwhile, tumbled in July, the first such decline in
almost a year, according to the Fed's monthly consumer credit
report released Monday.
Fewer consumers miss loan payments
Consumers aren't just cutting back on debt, however. A record
number also are steadily rebuilding their credit histories and
paying their bills on time, according to multiple reports.
Late payments on credit cards, for example, fell to a record low
in August, according to the Fitch 60-Day Delinquency Index.
According to a press release the ratings company issued Monday, the
percentage of credit card delinquencies is at its lowest point
since Fitch Ratings began tracking credit card payments in the
Credit card holders are also paying off their balances more
quickly, according to Fitch. The Fitch Monthly Payment Rate Index,
which tallies the rate at which cardholders pay down their credit
card balances, also rose to a record high in August.
In addition, significantly more consumers are paying their home
and automobile loans on time as well, according to multiple
The number of late payments on automobile loans fell in the
second quarter of 2012, reaching a record low, according to an
analysis report from credit reporting agency TransUnion. The
steady reduction in late payments occurred despite a significant
rise in the amount of debt consumers are taking on to buy new cars
and an uptick in the number of loans given to borrowers with
less-than-perfect credit, the agency noted in a press release.
Late payments on houses also dipped this summer, according to
the July Mortgage Monitor, released Monday by residential mortgage
data company Lender Processing Services.
Not all consumers, however, are having an easier time paying
their bills. Late payments on student loans increased two quarters
in a row in 2012, according to the New York Federal Reserve's most
recent report on household debt and credit. The total amount of
debt that students are taking on has also increased sharply this
year, according to Federal Reserve data.
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