Feb 3, 2011

Credit card rates at record highs

According to a CNN Money report credit card interest rates are now hovering near record highs, at an average rate of 14.72%. And if your credit is bad enough, you could even end up with a rate as high as 59.9% APR.

That's because while the CARD Act helped crack down on certain fees and requires more disclosures, it didn't cap every credit card holder's worst enemy: interest rates.

Sure, the new rules prevent banks from raising most interest rates retroactively, but there's no limit on the rates they can charge new customers.

Rates are going up because card issuers know that once you get a card they can't raise the rates, so they're raising rates at the start to ensure they get the revenue from that interest.

First Premier Bank offers a Gold MasterCard with a whopping 59.9% rate for those people with "less than perfect credit", according to its website. And that rate is actually down from the 79.9% rate it originally charged!

Some of the interest rates above are unconscionable. Breathtaking, actually.

Besides a couple of debit cards, we have two credit cards -- one Visa and one MasterCard. However we pay almost no interest on either of them.

There was a time several years ago when we had credit card balances but that was when interest was much lower. Now our Visa and MasterCard get paid off every month just as soon as the statement arrives.