Consumer Payment Card News

Xmas Gift

If the Feds move to cut rates this morning, for the first time in two and one-half years, it will impact credit card rates just ahead of the holiday shopping season. Of the nation’s $438 billion bank credit card outstandings, nearly $300 billion is tied directly to the prime rate. If the prime rate drops 50 basis points today, then American consumers will save about $1.5 billion in interest charges over the next twelve months. The rate cut will most likely spill over into other indices and eventually affect a total of about $375 billion in credit card outstandings. More than 85% of the industry uses variable interest rates. The rate cut is also good news for consumers as it comes just ahead of the start of the fourth quarter. About half the industry adjusts rates quarterly while the other half adjust monthly. Many American cardholders will see an interest rate reduction with their October statements. The average American household with $5300 in bank credit card debt will save about $2 per month if the prime drops by 50 basis points this week.

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