“The profit margins have been squeezed,” he said, “so the banks don’t have much of an incentive to lower credit card rates.”
Mr. Daco also explained that credit card rates depend on a different measure than many other consumer loan rates. Credit card rates are based on the prime rate, which has remained stable at 3.25 percent, while mortgage and car loan rates are based on the cost of funds rate, which is linked to Treasury bond rates, a number that has been declining.
In the meantime, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in December began trying to simplify credit card agreements, which would help consumers understand what rates they will be paying.
“Most rates are at record lows,” Mr. McBride said.