Consumer Payment Card News

Card Rates

Interest rates charged on variable rate credit cards have climbed three times more than fixed rates cards. In a rising interest rate climate, fixed rate cards are always a great deal if you can find them. Less than five years ago, the number of fixed rate cards outnumbered variable rate cards. Today, 82% of credit cards have a variable rate structure, generally pegged to the prime rate. The prime rate has climbed from 5.50% to 7.50% over the past twelve months. Today, variable rate cards carry an average go-to interest rate of 15.25% versus 14.11% for the average fixed rate cards. In February 2005, the average go-to variable interest rate was 12.84% versus 13.25% for fixed rate cards. (The averages do not include introductory or punitive interest rates.) Variable rates have climbed faster than the prime rate over the past twelve months due to the switchover from fixed to variable by card issuers.

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|_4. CREDIT CARD INTEREST RATES|
|_. Month | Prime | Fixed | Variable|
|_. Feb 05 | 5.50% | 13.25% | 12.84%|
|_. Mar 05 | 5.75% | 13.32% | 13.08%|
|_. Apr 05 | 5.75% | 13.39% | 13.17%|
|_. May 05 | 6.00% | 13.48% | 13.45%|
|_. Jun 05 | 6.00% | 13.59% | 13.61%|
|_. Jul 05 | 6.25% | 13.64% | 13.84%|
|_. Aug 05 | 6.50% | 13.76% | 14.24%|
|_. Sep 05 | 6.75% | 13.80% | 14.49%|
|_. Oct 05 | 6.75% | 13.87% | 14.64%|
|_. Nov 05 | 7.00% | 13.91% | 14.89%|
|_. Dec 05 | 7.25% | 13.93% | 15.20%|
|_. Jan 06 | 7.50% | 14.08% | 15.53%|
|_. Feb 06 | 7.50% | 14.11% | 15.75%|
|_4. Source: CardData (www.carddata.com)|

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