NEW YORK (CNN) -- Tired of your old credit card rate? Skyrocketing fees and shrinking credit limits? In the first of our series on Financial Resolutions -- here's how you can find the best terms.
If you're fed up with your credit card, you have every right to be.
Credit card issuers, on average, have raised rates up to 15% since January, according to billshrink.com. The average American is likely have paid about $110 more in credit card interest fees since the beginning of the year, or $10 billion for Americans as a whole. The worst offenders here: Capital One (COF, Fortune 500), Citi (C, Fortune 500) and Discover (DFS, Fortune 500) according to Billshrink.com. Their cardholders were socked with an average 32% rate increase since January.
Fortunately, the end of arbitrary rate hikes is coming very soon. The House voted to enforce tougher credit card rules with the CARD Act by February 22, 2010, although not in time for the holidays when credit-card purchases skyrocket.
So, the big question is how can you find a card that best fits your needs and your wallet?
First -- try a different bank. Local community banks typically have rates that are 1-2 percentage points lower that big bank cards.
If you do decide to switch to a new card, here are some things you should ask for before signing up. You should be getting an interest rate below 10%, if you have good credit. Make sure that fees are capped and that you have a grace period of 25 days to get your payments to the right place.
We consulted with Curtis Arnold of Cardratings.com for his best picks this year. Here's the list:
-- CNN's Jen Haley contributed to this article.
|Overnight Avg Rate||Latest||Change||Last Week|
|30 yr fixed||3.83%||3.81%|
|15 yr fixed||2.88%||2.89%|
|30 yr refi||3.92%||3.91%|
|15 yr refi||2.97%||2.99%|
Today's featured rates:
For two months, the owner of Nevada's Bunny Ranch Brothel is matching sex workers' student debt payments. More
Jim Chanos, the hedge fund billionaire, is bullish on America. And President Obama is a big part of the reason why. More
The National Domestic Workers Alliance introduced a new initiative, Good Work Code, to set standards and protections for on-demand workers. More
Karim Abouelnaga turned down a job on Wall Street to address a problem that set him back as a low-income student: the summer slide. More
The Pentagon is prohibiting military veterans from using GI Bill funding to pay for tuition at the University of Phoenix. More