Consumer Credit Card Rates Up Over Half-Percent Since January 1; Business Rates Hold Steady as Issuers Woo Business Owners

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While the average consumer credit card rate has increased by more than one-half percent since the beginning of the year, business credit card rates have barely budged, according to the weekly IndexCreditCards.com Credit Card Monitor.

Average credit card rates rose significantly again this week, and the average consumer credit card rate has increased by more than one-half percent since the beginning of the year, according to the weekly IndexCreditCards.com Credit Card Monitor.

The average credit card rate for standard, non-reward credit cards jumped to 13.17% this week, up from 13.02% just a week ago and 12.60% at the beginning of 2006. Credit cards offering rewards had an average rate of 14.26%, up from 14.09% last week and 13.80% at the beginning of the year. Consumers with the very best credit enjoy rates a bit nicer -- 10.43% for non-reward cards and 11.73% for reward cards on average. Still, those numbers are up from 10.07% and 11.38%, respectively, on January 1.

College students who carry balances continue to get hammered by interest, with the average student credit card rate moving up to 15.77% this week. This compares to 15.59% last week and 15.18% at the beginning of the year.

“Rates had been rising before the new year, but the size of the recent jump is surprising,” said Justin McHenry, Research Director for IndexCreditCards.com. “You’d expect a slow rise as federal interest rates increase, but several issuers have also changed their rate ranges, meaning the base rates they offer new customers have jumped as much as a full percentage point.”

However, one group is avoiding rising credit card interest rates: small business owners. Non-reward business cards offered an average interest rate of just 11.43% this week, up only a bit from 11.33% when the year began. Similarly, business reward cards had an average 13.36% APR, up only slightly from 13.21% on January 1.

“For a number of reasons, credit card issuers really desire small business customers,” says McHenry. “They’re more likely to have higher purchase volumes, and of course the stories of business owners who financed their startups with credit cards is legendary, meaning many small businesses carry balances as they grow. In addition, starting a relationship with a small business owner today may mean a relationship with a large corporate customer in the future. As a result, small business owners can find credit card rates at a significant discount to those of consumers.”

Financial institutions represented in the survey include Advanta, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Discover, MBNA, National City, Providian, Pulaski Bank, U.S. Bank, Wachovia, Wells Fargo and more.

About IndexCreditCards.com

IndexCreditCards.com offers credit card news, research, and perhaps the most comprehensive index of credit cards available on the Internet today, with a master listing of over 700 credit cards as well as categorized lists based on interest rates, reward programs, business credit cards, student credit cards and credit cards for those with poor credit histories.

Credit Card Monitor is a weekly survey tracking average credit card rates in multiple card categories. Credit Card Monitor information provided in this release may be reproduced free of charge, provided credit is given to http://www.IndexCreditCards.com.

CONTACT: Justin McHenry, 216.221.0312

WEBSITE: http://www.IndexCreditCards.com

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