June 3, 2010

You probably don't go through the credit card offers that come in the mail each week and methodically compare the interest rates. But CreditCards.com does, and reports the rates on those new offers keep going up.

In its latest report, for the week of May 30, the website tracks about 95 of the most popular credit cards in the country, including cards from dozens of leading U.S. firms. Not counting "teaser" rates, the average rate was 14.23 percent, up from 14.17 percent the previous week. Six months ago the average rate was 12.71 percent.

One of the biggest rate hikes in the last six months was in the category of business credit cards. Six months ago the average was 9.74 percent while this week the average on new card offers was 12.96 percent.

Cards for people with bad credit carry an average introductory rate of 19.75 percent this week, up from 13.74 percent six months ago.

Capital One raised rates on three cards, each by roughly two percentage points. Other issuers were also active: Discover lowered the bottom end of its student card's APR range, and Cabela's slightly increased the top end of its Visa card's APR range.

Capital One didn't respond to a request for comment, and Discover said it doesn't comment on rate strategies, the website said. Cabela's said its APR changed due to movement in the card's index -- the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) -- the British equivalent of the U.S. prime rate. Most U.S. cards are pegged to prime.

The CreditCards.com credit card rate survey is conducted weekly, using offer data from the leading U.S. card issuers' Web sites. Introductory offer periods and regular interest rates will vary with applicants' credit quality and issuer risk-based pricing policies.