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Expand chart
Data: St. Louis Federal Reserve; Chart: Axios Visuals

Since 2014, credit card interest rates have risen 4.4 percentage points, representing a 35% increase in costs for consumers, data from NerdWallet shows, despite the fact that U.S. interest rates remain at historical lows.

Context: Though the rate remains historically low, delinquencies are up 22% since 2015.

Why it matters: That adds significantly to the interest costs for consumers who carry credit card debt from month to month, and the average household now pays more than $1,150 a year in credit card interest.

On the bright side: Consumers may get some respite from a Fed rate cut. Credit card rates are legally tied to the so-called prime rate that banks charge their best customers, which is based on the U.S. overnight interest rate set by the Fed.

But, but, but: The Fed funds rate has diverged a bit this year from the prime rate and the credit card rate since the Fed paused its hiking cycle.

  • While the Fed rate hasn't moved since December 2018, the prime rate rose 15 basis points in January to 5.5% and has remained there, and the commercial credit card interest rate has risen 28 basis points to an all-time high of 17.14%.

Between the lines: NerdWallet's data also finds almost half of Americans (47%) do not pay their credit card bill in full each month and 38% of U.S. credit card holders don't know the interest rate on their cards.

Go deeper

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.

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