Consumer Payment Card News

Storm Clouds

This summer could be a stormy season for many consumers followed by rough sailing for the next year or so. The quadruple whammy of rising interest rates, higher credit card minimum payments, uncertain fuel costs, and sinking home values could be a disaster for many families already living on the edge. Americans who recently tapped into overvalued home equity, at historically low interest rates, are now getting a wake-up call. In some cases consumers may find themselves upside down, owing more than their home is worth. In other cases low interest rate credit cards now command APRs at least four percentage points higher than two years ago. Plus, issuers have been forced by regulators to double minimum payments on some cardholders who are paying high interest rates. But the salt on the wound is fuel prices which could soar any day to any price. Paying $4 per gallon for gas, a 30%+ APR for credit cards, and holding a 100%+ home equity line of credit may push more Americans to exist on ramen noodles.

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