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Average Credit Card Interest Rate for September 2020

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19.49%

The median rate of interest across all credit cards in the Investopedia card database for September 2020.

The median credit card interest rate for all credit cards in the Investopedia database currently stands at 19.49%, based on average advertised rates across several hundred of the most popular card offers in the market. Investopedia’s average rate data differs markedly from the overall credit card rate average tracked by the Federal Reserve (the Fed), which was most recently estimated at 14.52% for June 2020, due to the fact that the Fed samples a limited number of banks and only considers the low end of the interest rate range advertised by card issuers. Given that the average FICO credit score in the U.S. is 703 according to Experian , Investopedia believes it is more accurate to track the median midpoint value of advertised rate ranges as a 703 credit score would not qualify for the best rates available as implied by Fed average rates.

Key Takeaways

  • The median interest rate available from Investopedia’s database of over 300 cards is 19.49%
  • Credit card interest rates are largely determined by credit quality of the applicant
  • The best credit card rates are reserved for those with excellent credit

Credit card rates are expected to remain relatively stable for the foreseeable future, as most card issuers employ variable interest rates that are indexed to the Federal Reserve’s Prime Rate. After having cut rates twice in the latter half of 2019 and then again in April 2020, the Federal Reserve is not projected to immediately make further changes to its benchmark federal funds interest rate, upon which the Prime Rate is based. However, if the pandemic continues to negatively impact consumer spending and the overall economy, pressure could mount for another cut before the end of the year. A wide variety of consumer loans, including credit cards, are tied to movements of the Fed funds rate which is the mechanism the Fed employs to stimulate or slow the magnitude of lending depending on economic conditions.

Several factors influence how individual credit card rates are set, the most important of which is credit quality, with those with excellent credit receiving the lowest rates and those with no credit or bad credit receiving the highest rates. Other factors include the type of credit card and the risk-based pricing policies of the specific credit card issuer. 

Investopedia tracks average advertised rates for new applicants, which are typically quoted as a range for each card product, across more than 300 card offers, which are shown below broken out by credit quality, card type, and card issuer.

Interest Rates by Credit Quality Types

Different ranges of credit quality can vary depending on the type of score used but the most popular credit score used by credit card lenders is the FICO score.

Different ranges of credit quality can vary depending on the type of score used but the most popular credit score used by credit card lenders is the FICO score. Credit quality is defined according to the FICO score ranges for each credit quality level:

FICO Credit Score Ranges
Excellent 740-850
Good  670-739
Fair 580-669
Bad/No Credit 350-579

For those needing to build or rebuild their credit it’s critical to begin actively using credit responsibly – which means always paying bills on time and keeping utilization below 30% of credit lines. A secured credit card can be a good place to start if you don’t already have credit in your name. It can take time but responsible credit use can produce positive results after as little as six months and builds over time.

Interest Rates by Credit Card Types

  • Rewards: Credit cards that offer points, miles, or cash back on purchases
  • Student: Credit cards designed for for the limited credit history and credit education needs of college students
  • Secured: Credit cards that require a security deposit that serves as an initial credit line
  • Business: Credit cards designed for small business owners providing segregation of business expenses, working capital and often rewards and discounts on business-related purchase categories.

Interest Rates by Issuer

Credit card issuers have different risk-based pricing policies that cause variation in the ranges of interest rates they advertise and eventually assign to customers based on approved applicants’ credit scores.

Prime Rate Trend

Credit card interest rates are predominantly indexed to the Prime Rate along with a margin which varies at the card product level and individual account holder’s credit quality. The Prime Rate currently stands at 3.25%, the lowest level since Q4 2015 and has been adjusted downward from its decade-high of 5.50% reached in 2019 due to Federal Reserve economic stimulus actions in Q3 and Q4 2019 and again in April 2020.

Delinquency Rate Trend

Credit card delinquency rates, defined as accounts that are 90 days or more overdue, has been below 3% in recent years and has fallen by nearly 30 basis points between Q1 and Q2, likely due to decreased card spending during the pandemic and the positive impact of stimulus payments on paying down card debt.

Credit Card Debt Trend

Total consumer revolving credit card debt dropped below $1 trillion in the most recent quarter for the first time since 2017, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on consumer credit card spending and outstanding credit card debt.

Methodology

Investopedia tracks individual credit card rates on more than 300 cards offered to the public from 32 of the nation’s largest banks and issuers. Most credit card rates are advertised in the form of a range from low to high depending on the applicant’s credit score. In determining average rates by credit quality, card type, card type, or card issuer, Investopedia calculates the average mid-point of advertised interest rate ranges and also calculates the average of the lower and upper ends of rates that are expressed in ranges.

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Evicted California renters at greater risk of getting COVID-19

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After 70 years in Monterey County, 87-year-old Mary Martinez moved in the middle of a pandemic, evicted from her modest one-bedroom, second-floor apartment at 1118 Parkside St. in north Salinas.

According to her former landlord, Martinez was evicted because she allowed a “violent man” to live with her, violating the conditions of her lease. Martinez said the man is her epileptic nephew.

Advocates say that while evictions like Martinez’s are rarer during the pandemic, landlords are feeling the financial squeeze. Some have sold rental properties to make up for lack of income. That can leave renters out in the cold when their new landlord raises the rent by hundreds of dollars or requires all renters move out before they take over the building.

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New program to help Black-owned online businesses | Technology

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ATLANTA _ Many Black entrepreneurs struggle to get bank loans and professional help to launch new businesses. A new program aims to remove those stumbling blocks.

An Atlanta nonprofit and another business have committed $150 million to the 1 Million Black Businesses effort, which will make loans and provide financial and business advice to Black-owned startups and established small businesses. Atlanta-based nonprofit Operation Hope, which helps consumers improve credit scores, is kicking in $20 million, and Shopify, the online e-commerce is adding another $130 million for the loans and website-hosting services.

Other services firms providing expertise or help include Aprio, an Atlanta-based accounting firm, and First Horizon Bank.

It’s a package of products that many Black entrepreneurs couldn’t get through a bank or credit union, said John Hope Bryant, CEO of Operation Hope.

“A bank won’t lend you money unless you can prove that you don’t need it,” Bryant said. “That’s especially true with minority-owned small businesses.”

Small businesses with Black owners were half as likely to obtain business loans as whites, according to a Federal Reserve survey published earlier this year.

The initiative is the latest effort to help Black consumers and businesses enter the financial mainstream. Earlier this month, a group that includes rapper Killer Mike opened a digital bank aimed at Black and Latino consumers.

Banks and credit unions have tried for years to help Black consumers open checking and savings accounts. The efforts helped, as the number of U.S. households without bank accounts fell to 5.4% in 2019 from 6.5% in 2017, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Monday.

Consumers who own checking and savings accounts typically have access loans with better rates and a wider variety of financial services.

The federal government’s $660 billion loan initiative for businesses hit by COVID-19, the Paycheck Protection Program, also helped few Black-owned businesses, Bryant said. PPP loans were based on a company’s number of employees and its rent obligations. many Black-owned small businesses typically didn’t have enough workers to qualify and are based out of the owner’s residence.

Bryant said a bad credit history may not prevent applicants from receiving a loan.

He hopes more companies will contribute services such as insurance advice or software typically available only to well-established businesses.

Bryant noted that 1MBB is not a charitable organization, as participating companies like Shopify will likely get a pipeline of new business customers through the program.

“This is not pure philanthropy,” he said. “Shopify believes that Black-owned businesses are good businesses if they’re properly supported.”

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This Week’s Top Car Deals & Analysis – October 30, 2020

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The final days of October offer a chance to take advantage of outstanding model year-end deals. Most offers end November 2, which means there isn’t much time left to enjoy this month’s best lease deals and deepest new car discounts. We even found incentives that can help those with bad credit buy a new or used car.

2021 car deals. Interestingly, 2021 new car incentives are showing some surprises. For example, Audi is already offering up to $12,000 in savings when leasing the 2021 e-tron all-electric crossover. We even learned that the new Genesis GV80 SUV will debut with a $589/month lease deal plus special financing rates.

Believe it or not, the 2021 Hyundai Veloster N could prove to be a great value despite a nearly $4,700 price increase compared to the previous year. That’s because our analysis finds that better incentives can make it just $10/month more expensive to lease than the 2020 model. Talk about getting more for your money.

Why are small cars bad to lease? Even though smaller cars typically come with lower price tags, that isn’t always the case when leasing. A mix of lower discounts, worse residual values, and smaller discounts can actually make a Nissan Altima cheaper than a Versa despite having an almost $10,000 difference in MSRP.

Shorter-mileage leases. More brands are offering shorter mileage allowances on car leases. Although this is typically used to offer consumers more flexibility, we’ve found cases in which you can end up getting less for your money. If you don’t read all the fine print, this could make comparison-shopping difficult.

Bad credit car deals. If you have subprime credit, you may find it harder to get financed. However, some manufacturers are offering special incentives to help make cars & trucks more affordable. For example, Chevy is offering $2,000 in down payment assistance plus 9.9% APR for 72 months on the 2020 Trax.

$0 down leases. If you’re adamant about now putting down any money on a lease, you’ll love Sign & Drive leases. In addition to requiring no money down, $0 down lease deals can cover your first month’s payment. Even hot sellers like the Honda CR-V Hybrid offer $0 down and as little as $330/month on a lease.

The high cost of safety? Even though most major automakers are offering more safety features than ever before, our analysis finds that the highest IIHS safety ratings still require costly options in 2020. That’s starting to change, but the cost of buying a car with the most bragging rights is still very high.

Disaster relief. Those affected by some of this year’s natural disasters should be aware that automakers are offering assistance. California wildfire assistance programs like Ford Employee Pricing can save thousands when replacing a car. Similarly, a 2020 hurricane relief program from GM offers $1,000 in savings.

Spooky loan situations. There are some scary scenarios you can avoid when getting a car loan. However, boosting your credit score is possible with some determination because negative items on your credit report fall off after 7 years. Our network of dealers is specially equipped to help those with bad credit.

Upcoming vehicles. Genesis finally revealed the new GV70, a small luxury crossover based on the highly-rated G70 sedan. Whether it’s a redesigned car, truck, or SUV, odds are you’ll find it on our Previews page. That said, as we reported last week, discounts ahead of a redesign can result in substantial savings.

This Month’s Cheapest Lease Deals »



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