The Fed’s latest rate hike will soon have an impact on your wallet

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Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and his massive wallet on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
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CBS/ “The Late Show”

Wednesday’s announcement that the Federal Reserve was lifting its fed funds rate for just the second time since the end of the Great Recession has already started shaking up global markets.

Less immediate is the impact it could have on your wallet.

Most simply, the fed funds rate determines the interest rate at which banks borrow money short term.

This increase is then passed on to other borrowers, mostly consumers, through higher rates on things like credit-card debt.

And this debt is based on the banks’ prime loan rate, the interest rate used as a starting point for nonmortgage loans.

The announcement of the Federal Reserve to raise the fed funds rate by 0.25% had an immediate impact on these rates, sending them to 3.75% from 3.5%, mirroring the magnitude of the Fed’s increase.

And so after what seemed like an arcane and abstract policy change from the Fed on Wednesday, this is the impact that might matter to someone who doesn’t follow the news as closely as his or her credit-card bill.

Here’s the quick rundown of the prime loan rate changes – all taken to 3.75% from 3.5% – announced at major US banks so far: