The nation’s second largest credit card issuer has set a new high bar for low rates. In the December billing cycle some Chase cardholders were still paying a 29.99% interest rate that can now be cut to the amazing “lower” rate of 27.99%, just by taking “three easy steps.” In a promotional January mailer Chase is offering to cut the interest rate to a prime +23.99% rate if the cardholder signs up for automatic payments by the end of January, stays within the credit limit for the next 12 months and has no returned payments over the next 12 months. As the nation reels from the effects of a year-long recession, the spread between the prime rate (now 3.25%) and the highest credit card interest rates has never been greater. In the last recession the highest rates charged by the largest issuers was 23.99%, now the going rate among the top players is 23.99% plus the prime rate. In the U.S. the highest interest rates on credit cards are currently charged by CompuCredit for its sub-prime “Aspire Visa” card and some of Advanta’s business cards. Both issuers charge interest rates between 37% and 40%.