Interest rates on new credit card offers remained flat this
week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate
The national average annual percentage rate (APR) remained at
14.95 percent Wednesday for the fourth consecutive week.
None of the issuers tracked by CreditCards.com made significant
rate changes this week. Two issuers did, however, adjust the
promotional offers on two student credit cards.
US Bank eliminated the promotional APR and introductory balance
transfer rate on the US Bank College card. Previously, students
were offered six months of interest-free financing on balance
transfers and new purchases.
Now, students who want to capitalize on interest-free financing
will have to look elsewhere for a card. The US Bank College card is
the only student credit card that US Bank offers online.
Discover also tightened its promotional offer on the
"it" for students card this week, after briefly testing a
longer-term promotion. Students now have just six months to take
advantage of the card's promotional financing offers, including a
10.99 percent introductory rate on balance transfers and a 0
percent APR on purchases.
Students who want a longer-term promotion will have trouble
finding one. Most issuers offer similar time frames for student
For example, among the seven student cards that CreditCards.com
tracks, three offer promotional financing for six or seven months.
An equal number offer no promotional financing.
Only one issuer tracked by CreditCards.com,
Bank of America
, offers longer-term promotions for college students. The
BankAmericard for Students features an interest-free promotional
balance transfer and a 0 percent APR that lasts as long as 15
Late payments fall to new lows
Credit card issuers, which have been dialing back promotions or
leaving current offers alone while they wait out the weak economy,
have some reason to celebrate this week.
Fewer credit card holders are letting their credit card bills go
to collections and many more are paying their bills on time,
according to a new report from Fitch Ratings. Credit card
charge-offs -- debt that issuers have given up on collecting --
fell to a six-year-low in February 2013, according to the March 12
report by Fitch Ratings. Charge-off rates have been steadily
improving since 2010, with occasional fluctuations. They're now
down by 26 percent compared to the same time last year.
Late payments on credit cards also fell in February, hitting the
lowest level ever recorded by Fitch since it began collecting late
payment data in 1991.
The marked improvement in both delinquencies -- late payments by
30 days or more -- and charge-offs underscores just how far
consumers have come in recent years.
By the final quarter of 2012, for example, the amount of
outstanding debt that consumers still owed to their credit card
companies reached its lowest level in 17 years, according to an
earlier report from Fitch.
"Consumers' resilience at keeping their debt in check while
continuing to pay it down is keeping monthly payments steady," said
Fitch Managing Director Michael Dean in a
at the time.
In addition, consumers are also paying down their balances at a
historically fast pace, according to Fitch's most recent report.
The Fitch Index's Monthly Payment Rate -- which measures the amount
of time it takes cardholders to pay down their balances -- bounced
to 24.83 percent in February. That's the highest level ever
recorded, according to Fitch.
Card complaints zing companies