Fed Cuts Rates Quarter Point

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported today that applications for new mortgages and for refinancing are both down: new mortgages by 11 percent and refinancing by 16.7 percent from the prior week.

Credit Cards

Some people with an outstanding credit card balance are likely to see some relief, but not immediately.

Variable-rate credit cards are set using a formula tied to the prime rate, but most variable-rate cards don't "float." They shift at fixed times throughout the year, so it's unlikely there would be a substantial immediate impact. Also, fixed-rate cards make up the majority of the credit card market and they don't change much at all.

Also directly affected are people who have home equity lines of credit. These loans are usually tied to the prime rate so they will be directly impacted.

Car Loans

Finally, people with car loans are not going to see any relief because those rates are typically locked in at the time of the purchase. However, anybody seeking a new loan for a car purchase will likely see lower rates.

The key for any consumer is to shop around and read the fine print. So if your credit card rate doesn't lower, shop around — maybe another bank has lowered its rates.

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