Issuers will probably never again see the sort of profits they've enjoyed over the past 20 years, but the easiest way to regain some of that lost profit is to raise rates. And that's exactly what they've been doing, almost non-stop for over a year now.
Cleveland, OH (PRWEB) June 8, 2010
The latest numbers coming from the IndexCreditCards.com Credit Card Monitor are not encouraging for consumers who carry a balance. The recently released data show average credit card rates of 16.81%, the highest rate recorded since the Credit Card Monitor debuted in 2005.
IndexCreditCards.com founder Adam Jusko attributed these record-high rates to a tougher regulatory environment. "The economy has slowly improved and credit card issuers are recovering from their record losses, but they've been taking a beating from Congress," said Jusko. "First it was the sweeping reforms in the CARD Act, and now they're looking at a potential capping of the fees that merchants pay on card transactions."
The 2009 Credit CARD Act was intended to protect consumers from hidden fees and unscrupulous business practices, but it also led to preemptive interest rate hikes that affected almost every segment of the credit card market. With even more industry regulation on the way, credit card offers continue to fill consumer mailboxes but come with a higher price tag than in the past.
Jusko observed, "Issuers will probably never again see the sort of profits they've enjoyed over the past 20 years, but the easiest way to regain some of that lost profit is to raise rates. And that's exactly what they've been doing, almost non-stop for over a year now."
The May 31 Credit Card Monitor reports the following average rates:
- Average consumer credit card rate, overall market: 16.81%
- Average credit card rate, non-reward consumer cards: 15.43%
- Average reward credit card rate: 17.39%
- Average student credit card rate: 16.38%
- Average business credit card rate (non-reward): 13.75%
- Average business reward credit card rate: 15.74%
The 16.81% record high just beats out the previous record high of 16.80% set in March 2010. Overall, rates have been increasing steadily since last year.
Consumers hit with increasing costs may want to consider a balance transfer credit card to reduce their interest rate. However, Jusko warns that individuals should read the fine print and consider balance transfer fees before making a switch. Another way to offset increasing rates is to look for a cash back credit card which rewards you for daily purchases.
For a complete report on current average rates in the various credit card categories tracked by IndexCreditCards.com, refer to the site's Credit Card Monitor feature.
Financial institutions represented in the survey include American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Discover, HSBC, PNC/National City, Iberia Bank, Simmons National Bank, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and more.
IndexCreditCards.com is one of the web's most comprehensive credit card comparison sites, with a master listing of more than 1,200 credit cards. Newsweek has called it "as comprehensive a list as you'll find of all the credit card offers on the table now." The site also features credit card news, research and categorized credit card offer lists. Consumers can search for cards based on the lowest interest rates, reward programs, business credit cards, student credit cards and credit cards for those with poor credit histories.
Adam Jusko is available for interviews or commentary on this topic and other topics relating to credit cards and credit card trends. Information provided in this release may be reproduced free of charge, provided credit is given to http://www.IndexCreditCards.com.
# # #