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Here’s how it can affect you


this week, Federal Reserve System is likely to raise rates for the sixth time in a row to combat inflation, which is still running at its fastest pace in nearly 40 years.

The US Federal Reserve has already raised the key short-term rate 3 percentage points since Marchincluding three increases of 0.75 percentage points ahead of the next policy meeting.

“The impact of what has been done has not yet been fully reflected,” said Chester Spath, professor of finance at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business and former chief economist for the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Inflation hasn’t come down much yet, partly because it takes a while for these policies to kick in,” he said.

At the same time, “the impact on the consumer has created a potentially difficult economic environment and is likely to get much worse as we get more of these rate hikes,” he added.

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The next rate hike, which It is expected to be the fourth consecutive increase of 0.75 percentage pointswould correspond to another increase in the prime rate and immediately increase the cost of financing for many types of consumer loans.

“The cumulative effect of rate hikes is what will really affect the economy and household budgets,” said Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com.

In fact, borrowing is already much more expensive for all consumers.

What a rate hike means to you

The federal funds rate, set by the central bank, is the interest rate at which banks borrow and lend to each other overnight. While it’s not the rate that consumers pay, the Fed’s moves still affect the rates that consumers see every day.

From your credit card and car loan to your mortgage rate, student debt and savings, here’s a breakdown of some of the main ways you’re being outbid:

1. Mortgage

2. Credit cards

A shopper uses a credit card to pay for merchandise at a Wal-Mart in Denver.

Matthew Staver | Bloomberg | Getty Images

As the majority credit cards have a floating rate, there is a direct link to the Fed’s benchmark. As the federal funds rate increases, so does the prime rate, as well as credit card rates.

Annual interest rates are “approaching 19%” on average, up from 16.3% at the start of the year, according to Bankrate.

Also, households are increasingly relying on credit cards to afford essentials as incomes fail to keep pace with inflation, McBride said, making it is even more difficult for borrowers to make ends meet.

If the Fed announces a 75 basis point hike as expected, consumers with credit card debt will spend more 5.1 billion dollars on interest this year alone, according to a new analysis from WalletHub.

3. Car lending

Despite that car loans fixed, payments go up because the price of all cars goes up along with interest rates on new loans, so if you plan to buy a caryou will shell out more in the coming months.

“Auto loan rates are the highest they’ve been in 11 years,” McBride said. The average interest rate on a five-year new car loan is currently 5.63%, up from 3.86% at the start of the year, and could top 6% with the Fed’s next move, though consumers with higher credit ratings may be able to secure better loan terms.

Still, it’s not the interest rate, but the sticker price of a car that’s causing the affordability crisis, McBride said. “The problem is people are borrowing $45,000 or $50,000.”

Paying a 6% APR instead of 5% would cost consumers $1,348 more in interest over a 72-month $40,000 car loan, according to Edmunds.

4. Student loans

Kevin Dodge | Image Bank | Getty Images

The interest rate on federal student loans taken out for the 2022-2023 school year has already risen to 4.99% from 3.73% last year and 2.75% in 2020-2021. It won’t budge until next summer: Each year in May, Congress sets the federal student loan rate for the next school year based on the 10-year Treasury rate. The new rate goes into effect in July.

Private student loans typically have a variable rate tied to Libar, prime or T-bill rates — and that means when the Fed raises rates, those borrowers also pay more interest. How much more, however, will vary by test.

Currently, average fixed rates for private student loans can range from 3.22% to 14.96% and from 2.52% to 12.99% for variable rates, according to Bankrate. As with auto loans, they vary widely based on your credit score.

Certainly, anyone with education debt should see where they stand federal student loan forgiveness.

5. Savings accounts

On the other hand, interest rates on some savings accounts are also higher following successive rate hikes.

Although the Fed has no direct influence on deposit rates, they tend to correlate with changes in the target federal funds rate, and savings account rates at some of the largest retail bankswhich were near the bottom for the most part the covid pandemiccurrently averaging up to 0.21%.

Thanks in part to lower overhead costs, the highest-yielding online savings accounts have rates as high as 3.5%, much higher than the average rate at a traditional brick-and-mortar bank, according to Bankrate.

As the central bank continues its rate hike cycle, those yields will also rise. “We’ll see 4% before the start of the year,” McBride said.

However, any money earned at less than the rate of inflation loses purchasing power over time.

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