I have a credit card, and like most of you, probably don't pay it off completely every month. I'm one of those guys who justs pays off the interest, and while that's always been a bad idea, it might just get worse. Read on!
Credit-Card Rates Climb by Ruth Simon
Levels Hit Nine-Year High as New Rules Limiting Penalty Fees Help Fuel Rise
Interest rates continue to tumble for the U.S. Treasury, companies and home buyers alike. But for a large portion of 381 million U.S. credit-card accounts, borrowing rates have been moving only one way: up.
And average rates are likely to climb further in the near future.
New credit-card rules that took effect Sunday limit banks' ability to charge penalty fees. They come on top of rule changes earlier this year restricting issuers' ability to adjust rates on the fly. Issuers responded by pushing card rates to their highest level in nine years.
In the second quarter, the average interest rate on existing cards reached 14.7%, up from 13.1% a year earlier, according to research firm Synovate, a unit of Aegis Group PLC. That was the highest level since 2001.
Those figures look especially stark when measuring the gap between the prime rate—the benchmark against which card rates are set—and average credit-card rates. The current difference of 11.45 percentage points is the largest in at least 22 years, Synovate estimates.
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