Credit card rates are mixed
Credit card rates for variable-rate cards added almost a quarter of a percentage point since Bankrate adjusted its survey of top card issuers in the third week of January 2013. The annual percentage rate, or APR, started out at 15.13 percent during the week of Jan. 16 and moved higher to 15.36 percent by the first week of December.
While the average rate drifted higher, consumers with stronger credit didn't see their credit card rates go up, McBride says. "They still received rock-bottom rates and zero-percent introductory offers."
The consumers who suffered higher rates fell at the other end of the credit-risk spectrum, McBride says. To compensate for riskier borrowers and federal restrictions on raising interest rates, credit card issuers have been increasing the high end of a credit card's interest rate range, from roughly 9.99 percent-12.99 percent to 9.99 percent-14.99 percent.
APRs on fixed-rate cards, which are far less common, dropped in February from 13.33 percent to 13.02 percent, where they have remained all year. The drop came after BB&T eliminated its fixed-rate platinum Visa credit card, which featured a 14.9 percent APR. Its exclusion also lowered the average fixed rate in Bankrate's survey.