This week, interest rates for credit cards have increased, reaching a record high. The average annual percentage rose to 15.22 percent, the highest rate seen throughout 2011.
Previously, the highest rate was 15 percent in the middle of October.
America’s largest credit card issuer, JP Morgan Chase prompted this increase in the average APR by dropping nine APR ranges on their credit cards. Chase are now only offering the rates which were previously the higher end of variable APRs offered on cards.
For example, the BP Visa and the Hess Visa cards issued by Chase has now changed to a fixed rate of 19.24 percent where as previously the rate varied between 15.24 percent and 19.24 percent. The same applies to the University of Florida card which has abolished it’s variable range of 13.24 percent to 19.24 percent and are now using the highest end of the range, 19.24 percent as a fixed rate.
Elsewhere in Chase’s credit card portfolio, the Freedom card, Slate card and Priority Club Select Visa card all changed to mid range rates and did away with the high and low ends of the ranges previously offered. The Freedom card changed from 11.99 to 22.99 percent to a fixed APR of 17.99; the Slate card is now fixed at an APR of 16.99 percent instead of the range between 11.99 and 21.99 percent; and the Priority Club Select Visa card now has a fixed rate of 15.24 percent instead of 13.24 to 17.24 percent. A number of Rewards cards and business cards have also been affected by the change.
Public Affairs Director for Chase, Steve O’Halloran issued a statement saying,
Chase offers a number of cards with different rates and benefits, which is why we encourage customers to choose the card that is best for them.
He confirmed that some changes had been made to credit card rates offered to new customers.
The changes made to the Chase range of credit cards has had an affect on the average APR for several categories of credit cards. As mentioned, the overall average rate now stands at 15.22 percent. The national average APR for balance transfer cards has increased to 13.08 percent, the highest it has been since mid 2009 while Cash Back cards now have an average APR o 14.86 percent, the highest rate since early 2007.
Low interest credit cards also saw an increase in the average APR which moved from 10/62 percent to 11.17 percent. Among the types of cards which saw no change to the national average APR this week were business cards which remian steady at an average of 13.13 percent APR.