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Kiersten Essenpreis for Money

Short-term benchmark interest rates are close to zero. For mortgages, home buyers are paying less than ever. Credit-card borrowers have no such luck, with some retail store cards charging APRs of nearly 30%.

Last week the Federal Reserve found that the average APR for revolving credit products — that is, credit cards — jumped to 16.43% for August from an average of 15.78% in the second quarter. Among the most expensive cards out there: Retail store credit cards, which a 2018 report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found charge nearly a third more, on average, than general-purpose cards.

Indeed, people who sign up for credit cards from brands including Appliances Connection, Big Lots and Petland will all be stuck with an APR of 29.99%. There are some retail sectors, primarily for big-ticket goods, where a 30% interest rate is more or less the standard. Jewelry retailers like Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Zales, Pandora and Kay Jewelers all have APRs of 29.99%, and mattresses are another pricey category: Mattress Firm, 1800mattress and Ortho Mattress all charge 29.99%.

To put that in perspective, if you charged $1,000 and took three years to pay it off at that rate, you’d have to pay $460 in interest — nearly half the amount of your original purchase.