Here's a look at the state of credit card interest rates from Bankrate.com's weekly national survey of large banks and thrifts conducted Nov. 25, 2009.
Credit CardsRates: 13.46 percent (standard fixed); 11.48 percent (standard variable)
Average advertised interest rates on credit cards stayed flat this week. The mean fixed APR for all cards remained at 12.31 percent and the average variable rate stuck to 11.68 percent.
Rates on standard cards haven't moved in six consecutive weeks. The average fixed rate parked at 13.46 percent, the mean variable APR at 11.48 percent.
A whopping 50 percent of Americans say their credit card issuers have raised their interest rates in the past six months, according to a Rasmussen Reports consumer survey released last week. Many people had little reason to fret about higher APRs, though, because they pay their balances in full every month and avoid finance charges as a result. About 51 percent of respondents reported that they clear their debt every month, while 45 percent of credit cardholders said they sometimes revolve a balance.
Consumers that plan on putting their holiday purchases on credit should know they are vulnerable to interest rate hikes on their outstanding balances, with just 45 days' advance notice. New protections under the Credit CARD Act of 2009 that would restrict such rate increases won't kick until Feb. 22, and legislation to move up the implementation date of the law or freeze interest rates looks unlikely to move forward.
You can find your best credit card deal -- by type -- at Bankrate's interactive tool.
-- Leslie McFadden