Personal Finance

Survey: Average card APR remains at 15% for record 16th week

Interest rates on new card offers remained cemented in place for another record-breaking week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

For the 16th week in a row, the national average annual percentage rate (APR) held fast at 15 percent. This is the longest period of time that average credit card APRs have remained in place since began tracking rates in mid-2007.

Most issuers left interest rates and other terms alone this week. Among the 100 cards tracked by, the sporting goods store Cabela's was the exception. It lowered the minimum APR on the Cabela's Club Visa from 15.19 percent to 15.18 percent after the one-month LIBOR rate decreased. However, the change was too small to affect the national average. The retail card's maximum rate also fell by .01 percent.

Card payments' global popularity continues to increase

Cash is falling out of favor around the globe, according to a new report from the Royal Bank of Scotland and consulting company Capgemini.

The World Payments Report 2015 found that non-cash transactions, including credit card, debit card and mobile payments, grew to 358 billion in 2013 -- up 7.6 percent from 2012.

In 2014, the study estimates that cashless payments may have expanded even more quickly, thanks in part to an improving U.S. economy and continuing growth in Asia.

Precise figures for 2014 have yet to be released, but researchers at the Global Bank of Scotland and Capgemini estimate that cashless payments may have increased by as much as 8.9 percent last year, expanding to roughly 389.7 billion by the end of the year.

Cardholders living in Europe, North America and much of the Asia-Pacific region continue to be the heaviest users of credit cards, debit cards and other forms of non-cash payments, but consumers in emerging markets are also turning to cards more often, according to the study.

Emerging countries in Asia adopted noncash payments at the fastest rate, according to the study. For example, cashless payments in China grew by 37.7 percent, while cashless payments in all emerging Asian economies combined grew by 21.6 percent. Meanwhile, cashless payments grew by 10.6 percent in Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa and might have grown even faster if political instability and economic turmoil hadn't impeded growth, said the study. In Latin America, cashless payments jumped by 8.6 percent and in Europe, non-cash rose by 5.1 percent. Meanwhile, in North America, credit card, debit card and other cashless payments grew by 4.6 percent.

"Between 2002 to 2013, mature markets dominated non-cash transaction volumes with almost three-quarters of the market share," wrote researchers. "However, a shift in balance is occurring as the developing markets' share of global non-cash transaction volumes increased by 15 percentage points from 12 percent to 27 percent."

The increasing popularity of cashless payments in emerging markets is largely due to faster economic development and growth, better payment systems and more widespread access to Internet and mobile services, say researchers. "If current trends continue, developing markets' share of global non-cash transaction volumes is expected to increase from 27 percent in 2013 to 33 percent by 2020."

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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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