Personal Finance

Rate survey: Average card APR stays put at 16.14 percent

The average interest rate for new credit card offers remained at a record high Wednesday for the third consecutive week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

None of the cards tracked by CreditCards.com advertised new rates. As a result, the national average APR stayed at 16.14 percent - the highest average APR CreditCards.com has recorded since it began tracking rates in mid-2007.

Average rates have remained at record highs for most of 2017. Since January 1, the average card APR has climbed by more than three quarters of a percentage point. At the beginning of the year, the average rate on a new card offer was just 15.36 percent.

The Federal Reserve's periodic rate hikes are responsible for most of the increases. When the Fed changes its benchmark rate, most cards match it by the same amount.

Card issuers respond to Hurricane Harvey with donations, fee waivers

Banks and credit card issuers are stepping up in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and pledging millions of dollars in donations and fee breaks for Texans directly affected by the natural disaster.

Several card issuers have pledged disaster relief and announced special programs for cardholders who want to help. For example, Discover Card announced Aug. 30 that it will match up to $500,000 of cardholder donations to the American Red Cross. It will also waive transaction fees for any donation made directly to the Red Cross with a Discover card. In addition, Discover is separately matching employee donations.

U.S. Bank is accepting donations to the American Red Cross on all U.S. Bank ATMs. Meanwhile, CitiBank pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross. Chase said it would distribute $1 million to a variety of disaster relief organizations. Wells Fargo pledged $500,000 to the American Red Cross and an additional $500,000 to local Texas nonprofits assisting in Hurricane Harvey relief. It has also made it easier for cardholders to donate their card rewards directly to the American Red Cross.

BBVA Compass, whose holding company is headquartered in Houston, said its foundation will donate $250,000 to the American Red Cross and the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

Bank of America pledged $250,000 to the Red Cross and an additional $750,000 to other organizations assisting in the relief efforts. Regions Bank has pledged $100,000 to disaster relief. American Express has also promised to donate.

Several banks have also said they would help Hurricane Harvey victims directly by waiving credit card fees and other charges. For example, Chase has promised to waive late fees on credit card, mortgage, business banking and auto loans for all Houston metro residents and other customers living in areas severely affected by the storm. It is also waiving overdraft, service and ATM fees for people with a Chase deposit account.

Citi is waiving credit card minimum payments and late fees on all Citi cards owned by customers directly affected by the hurricane and subsequent flooding. It's also pledged not to charge affected customers for paying their mortgage late in September and will not charge those customers who make an early withdrawal from their certificate of deposits (CD). In addition, it's waiving wire transfer fees for money directed to those in need because of the storm, granting emergency credit line increases and going out of its way to make sure customers' credit reports aren't negatively affected by the storm.

Wells Fargo has also promised to refund late fees charged to Hurricane Harvey victims and will waive regional ATM fees.

BBVA Compass also waived late fees and lifted ATM fees in the 58 counties declared disaster areas.

Meanwhile, Regions Bank is granting extensions for credit card holders and other borrowers affected by the storm, waiving ATM fees and penalty fees on one-time CD withdrawals. It's also offering discounts on loans to business borrowers in the area who need help with recovery.

"We've seen first-hand the impact of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath and we stand with our communities as we work to recover together," said Regions Bank's Marc Angle in a news release .

See related:After Hurricane Harvey: How cardholders can help

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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