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Have the interest rates gone up on your credit cards?

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Many consumers sign up for credit cards without paying too much attention to the interest rate. They may not notice that the credit card issued by a retailer has a much higher interest rate than one they’d get from Visa or Master Card.

In the past several years, credit card interest rates and debt have risen substantially, increasing consumer costs by tens of billions of dollars each year. For example, the interest rates on credit card accounts rose steadily from 12.95 percent in 2013 to 16.46 percent in August 2018, an increase of 27 percent, according to Federal Reserve Board data. The credit card interest rate is the highest in this century.

These interest rate increases are going to make holiday purchases with credit cards more expensive. Consumers with high credit card debt levels should be cautious about increasing their debt during the holiday season, said Steve Brobeck, a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America.

Credit card debt has also increased significantly in the past several years. Outstanding revolving credit rose from $8.6 billion in 2013 to $10.4 billion in August 2018, an increase of 22 percent.

The credit card interest rate hike is much more than the rate increase for other types of consumer credit.

You may be one of the consumers having increasingly difficulty making credit card payments.

Although credit card delinquency and default rates remain low compared to those of the Great Recession, both rates are increasing. Before the Great Recession, credit card payment problems had been steadily on the rise.

“The relatively high credit card debt and interest rate levels may not be affordable for many consumers in the event of an economic downturn,” said Brobeck.

If you’re having credit card stress, make a budget for holiday spending and stick to it. In addition, figure out how you can pay off your credit card spending every month.

Comments

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azure

It's particularly interesting & enlightening because banks have been experiencing very low rates of interest on Fed funds, etc., until relatively recently.

But as ever, since the 1970's, the non-wealthy public has seen an ever-increasing rate of exploitation.

I don't know if you've done post on this yet but pretty much every retail & other outlets have imposed mandatory arbitration and waiver of participation in class actions on every person who buys anything from them. Nordstrom's website, Consumer Cellular (who did so w/out proper notice but after all who cares? not the US gov't and the so-called Consumer Protection Bureau (who pretty much have okayed all of this), not state AG office Consumer Divisions, or state legislators. State AG consumer divisions have often been reduced to skeleton staff as after all it's far more important for state legislators, cities, etc., to offer business subsidies & tax cuts, then it is to equalize the playing field between corporations and members of the public.

You can also thank CJ Roberts, & the newest justice, who, during their legal careers participating in a campaign (by banks, etc.) to obtain Supreme Court decisions (in 2011 and 2013, iirc) that again, approved of these grossly unfair consumer contract provisions.

What these provisions due is cut off members of the public from using the judicial system to fight gross overcharges, etc. From participating in class actions to address the same types of problems. They are restricted to a private system of "justice" use of arbitrators, who, with the little data that's been obtained, rule in the favor the seller/corporations 4 out of 5 times.

People should be e-mailing, calling, their state legislators and members of Congress to get legislation passed in their state and nationally that would reverse those Supreme Court decisions and effectively protect "consumers". It can be done, Congress can draft new laws and unless the S.Ct rules them unconstitutional, those laws can reverse S.Ct decisions. It's happened before, it can happen again.

Rita

Hi azure,

Yes, I'm aware of arbitration clauses. You're right. They are detrimental and need to be abolished.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was working on this before Trump took over.

Rita

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