The average interest rate charged on credit-card balances decreased to 13.4 percent in November from 14.4 percent a year earlier, according to the Federal Reserve’s December G19 report, which tracks rates for credit-card accounts. The prime rate has decreased to 3.25 percent from 6 percent last February. Most variable credit-card rates are linked to the prime rate, which follows the federal funds rate.
Rate changes announced by New York-based Citigroup Inc., the biggest U.S. credit-card issuer, American Express Co. and Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America Corp. are intended to raise revenue, said Woolsey, who is based in Austin, Texas.
Citigroup’s charge-off rates of loans increased by 88 percent, climbing to 7.81 percent in December from 4.16 percent a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Charge- offs are loans the banks don’t expect to be repaid. American Express’s charge-off rates more than doubled to 7.23 percent from 3.32 percent while Bank of America’s rates increased to 8.45 percent from 5.24 percent, a 61 percent jump.
You can avoid worries about credit card companies increase your interest rates by taking sensible financial precautions and avoiding credit card debt.