Rate survey: Credit card interest rates remain at 14.96%


Interest rates on new credit card offers remained flat this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

The national average annual percentage rate (APR) remained at 14.96 percent Wednesday for a second week.

Most credit card issuers also left promotional terms, such as 0 percent balance transfer offers, alone this week. 

One issuer -- the sporting goods store Cabela's -- raised the maximum APR on its credit card for club members by 3 percentage points. The rate hike didn't affect the national average, however, because CreditCards.com considers only a card's lowest available rate when calculating average interest rates.

Cabela's increased the maximum APR on the Cabela's Club Visa card from 18.18 percent to 21.19 percent. Cabela's left the card's minimum rate (which applies only to purchases made of the retailer's wares) of 9.99 percent alone.

Consumer spending ticks up
Credit card holders, meanwhile, are gradually increasing their spending this summer, according to figures released June 27 by the U.S. Commerce Department . Consumer spending rose a modest 0.3 percent in May, after falling by an equal amount in April, according to revised federal estimates. Consumers spent slightly less in May on food and on durable and nondurable goods, but spent more on services and on gas.  

Some consumers also received a substantial pay raise, according to the Commerce Department, which helped boost their ability to spend. Incomes rose 0.5 percent in May, the biggest income gain for consumers since February.

Incomes have risen for the past four consecutive months, according to Commerce Department data, but the rate of increase has been unsteady. In February, they grew by a significant 1.2 percent in February and continued growing in March and April, but at a slower pace. The slowdown fueled worry that the economy was faltering for the fourth consecutive spring. May's strong gain in incomes may signal this year's softening was only temporary and that the economic recovery is on firmer ground.

Consumer confidence still near record highs
Consumers, meanwhile, are still reporting near-record levels of confidence, according to a new report from the University of Michigan and Reuters -- another strong sign that the U.S. is headed toward a sturdier economic recovery.

For the second straight month, consumers reported feeling far more hopeful about the economy than they did this time last year.

After hitting a six-year high in May, consumer confidence dropped off somewhat in June, according to the Thomson Reuters University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, released June 28. However, despite consumers' modest drop in expectations month-over-month, the overall mood was still near a record high.

"Consumers now believe the recovery has achieved an upward momentum that will not be easily reversed," said Surveys of Consumers Chief Economist Richard Curtin in a statement . "To be sure, few consumers expect the economy to post robust gains or think the unemployment rate will drastically shrink during the year ahead. Nonetheless, consumers anticipate continued slow economic progress," said Curtin.

The ongoing confidence over the past few months has given economists reason to hope that consumers' good moods may soon translate into even stronger spending.

A Discover Spending Monitor report released July 3 bolstered that hope. It found significantly more consumers plan to ramp up their spending over the next 30 days.

Forty percent say they'll likely spend more on household purchases this month, while 14 percent say they'll use their extra income on something they don't necessarily need to buy. A slightly larger number of people, meanwhile -- 18 percent total -- say they'll invest a portion of their income on a big purchase.

This month's growth in spending may not be enjoyed by everyone According to the Thomson Reuters University of Michigan report, households with incomes below $75,000 enjoyed fewer income gains and increases in household wealth last month than people with higher wages.

By contrast, households with incomes above $75,000 reported feeling more financially confident in June than they have since mid-2007. "Gains in spending during the balance of 2013 can be expected to be more heavily concentrated than usual among upper-income households, with the housing market serving as the bellwether industry," said Surveys of Consumers' Curtin in a statement. "These prospects reflect a new type of economic revival, sparked by increases in wealth rather than by gains in jobs and wages."

See related: Survey: Average American expects to be debt free by 53 ,  Fed: Card balances ticked up in April

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