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Card APRs fall as interest spirals Back  
Competition amongst credit card providers has driven standard rate APRs down by 3 per centage in Ireland while interest rates have risen by 1.4 per cent.

Data released for the first time by the Central Bank on credit card lending in Ireland has highlighted that since January 1999, APRs charged on credit cards has fallen from 21.5 per cent to 18.5 per cent. In the same 18 months to end June 2000, the three month Euribor rose from 3.05 per cent to 4.53 per cent.

Surprisingly, the total debt on Irish credit cards, estimated to be E831 million at end June 2000, amounts to less than one per cent of total private sector debt. But this represents a year on year increase of 25.7 per cent and reflects the overall growth in private sector credit, which was up 28 per cent in the thirteen months to end June 2000, the Central Bank said.

The number of Irish credit cards is issue was also reported for the first time in the Bank’s Autumn Bulletin. At end June 2000, 1,733,000 credit cards were issued to Irish residents, making the average net outstanding credit balance E480 or IEP378.

The number of people holding credit cards in Ireland is the fourth highest in Europe, with 305 in every 1,000 owning one. The highest figure is in the UK where the figure is 702 per 1,000 people. France had the lowest holding of credit cards at 18 per 1000 people, as reported by the European Central Bank earlier this year.

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