Is there a legal maximum interest rate that a credit card can charge?

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Q. Is there a legal maximum interest rate that a credit card can charge?

A. For all practical purposes, no.

Federal law sets no nationwide limit on how much credit cards can charge.

While many states have usury laws that regulate the rates on all types of loans, they only apply to banks based in that state and don't protect consumers who borrow from out-of-state lenders.

That's why most major credit card companies are incorporated in Delaware or North Dakota because they have no usury laws and therefore impose no limits on how much they can charge customers across the country.

If your credit card company has a maximum rate it will be stated in the "Terms and Conditions" -- that incomprehensible booklet you were given when you signed up. But many of those agreements simply say rates can be changed as often as the issuers wants and without any notice.

Most cards max out around 29% for customers who have been thrown into universal default for missing a payment or two -- and not necessarily a payment to that card. But we've heard of cards charging as much as 32%.

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