WASHINGTON (5/18/11)--Credit union credit cards give consumers “a better deal across the board,” generally offering lower interest rates, lower penalty charges, and reduced fees, a Pew Health Group study has found. The Pew study, entitled “A New Equilibrium: After Passage of Landmark Credit Card Reform, Interest Rates and Fees Have Stabilized,” used data collected between March 2010 and January 2011 to compare credit card rates and other terms offered by the 12 largest credit unions and the 12 largest banks. A credit union card also had the lowest annual percentage rate (APR) of any in the survey, with one credit union advertising a 9.99% rate. The lowest bank-offered rate came in three points higher, totaling 12.99% APR. The study also found that credit unions had lower cash-advance charges when compared with banks, totaling as low as 10.9% at one credit union. The lowest bank cash advance rate was 24%. While the number of banks that charged a yearly account fee increased by 7 percentage points over last year, the percentage of credit unions charging fees held steady at 14%. The average fee charged by those credit unions totaled $25, which was nearly half of the $59 fee charged by banks. The Pew study, and the great credit union rates, have received widespread coverage on MSNbc.com, TIME.com, the Associated Press, Fox News and other outlets. For the full study, use the resource link.