Credit has become harder to get and more expensive, O Globo reports today. Interests rates are part of the story—they’ve gone up. But just as striking as the 1.76 percent monthly jump, is just how high interest rates are here period. Credit card holders in Brazil will now pay a whopping 96.49 percent in interest a year, up from 94.27 percent at December’s rates. Those financing a car pay 33.86 percent interest each year on their loan balance.
Banks are requiring higher down payments for cars, and shorter loan periods. All of those changes are probably good, because they should help blunt consumer demand in what experts say is an overheating economy. Also helping in that regard are government regulations requiring banks to keep more capital on hand. And, in the long run, these requirements could help cut down on consumer defaults, which were 24.8 percent higher this January compared to last.