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CREDIT CARD RATES GO HIGHER

More evidence that credit card issuers are moving toward a nationwide standard interest rate of 19.8 percent has been uncovered by Consumer Action, a California-based consumer organization.

Its latest annual survey of card rates in California and nationally found very few cards with rates under 16 percent. "Even more disturbing, the survey reveals that instead of offering competitive rates, a large segment of the credit card industry has adopted 19.8 percent APR (annual percentage rate) as an unofficial standard," Consumer Action says.

That hurts the majority of card holders who do not pay off their balances in full each month and end up paying interest on their cards, the organization says.

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