Rising Incomes Stimulate Springtime Economic Growth - Other News

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Rising Incomes Stimulate Springtime Economic Growth

The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.
This content is not provided by Citi. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Citi.

During the final quarter of 2012, the economy grew at a rate of 3%, contrasted with its sluggish 1.7% pace in the third quarter. So far this year the economic growth trend has continued, with the U.S. adding about 245,000 jobs since December and the unemployment rate slowly shrinking.

Orders for durable goods were up 2.2% in February, and orders for core capital goods rose 1.2%. Business investment looks like it will stay strong and companies are beginning to recover from the long recession.

Consumers may be feeling more confident about spending, as personal income increased about 5.1% in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. States with the highest increase in personal income include California, Texas, and Wyoming, while states that saw some of the lowest increases in income were Arkansas, Maine, Nevada, and Alaska.

Source: NAR, Comparing Q2 2010 & Q2 2011

Springtime Spending Spree, Anyone?

Perhaps of particular interest to consumers whose income is trending upward and find themselves with a little more disposable income to play with, Credit-Land.com has just released a survey on interest rates during the first quarter of 2012, with some interesting findings. Anyone who plans to blow a little dough, whether on a big purchase, gas for a road trip, or just some general spring shopping, would be well advised to pay for their purchases with a credit card that can give them something back for their money. Credit-Land.com`s APR survey can help people choose the best credit card to use, depending on what they plan to use it for.

And the Winner Is . . .

Gas credit cards, which often have a reputation for carrying high interest rates, actually have some of the lower rates around – the average APR in that category is 12.43%. Cash rebate cards carry a high average interest rate of 15.31%, nearly as high as premium card issuer American Express, which has an average rate of 15.54%.

Credit-Land.com`s “Best Credit Cards” category encompasses their top credit card picks for consumers with good to excellent credit history. These carry the lowest overall rates of the bunch, with an average APR of 11.29%, and reinforce the truism that having good credit history pays off. Consumers with high credit scores are able to quality for the lowest interest rates and the best deals out there from the credit card industry.

Some cards fall into more than one category for the sake of calculation. For example, the Discover More card is included in five categories: Best Credit Cards, Cash Rebate Cards, Gas Rewards Cards, and Discover Cards, because its rewards program delivers excellent cash back in all above categories; and its ongoing APR on purchases and balance transfers starts at 10.99%, after an introductory offer of Zero Interest Rate for 15 month.

Here are the highlights of the survey results – with average APRs in each category used by Credit-Land.com:

Average Interest Rates by Credit Card Category

Credit Category

Average APR

Best Credit Cards

11.29%

Cash Rebate Cards

15.31%

Frequent Flyer Cards

13.96%

Point Rewards Cards

12.94%

Gas Rewards Cards

12.43%

American Express Cards

15.54%

Chase Cards

14.40%

Citi Cards

13.36%

Discover Cards

12.07%


Fantastic Plastic Showdown

Is it always better to go with the card that has the lowest APR? Although studies show that 70% of consumers say a low interest rate is more important to them than a rewards program, this isn`t always necessarily the best strategy. The ongoing APR of your card only matters if you carry a balance; if you have a card specifically for spending that you plan to pay off in full each month, then you won`t pay interest at any rate. When that card offers a cash rebate on purchases, there`s nothing to lose – and anywhere from 1% to 20% cash back to gain! Just decide whether you prefer to get the best rewards on gas or airline miles, in points or in cash.

A growing economy, lower unemployment, and increased personal income are all good news as the U.S. recovers from recession. As the first quarter of 2012 draws to a close we hope that the upward trend continues and there is more good news on the horizon.

Disclaimer: This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer(s). Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer(s), and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer(s). Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate information, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult a card's issuing bank for the terms & conditions.
All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.
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