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Credit card APRs unchanged for 2nd week in a row, says survey

By Kate Tomasino

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 14.95% 14.95%
14.89%
Low interest 10.40%
10.40% 10.73%
Balance transfer 12.71%
12.71%
12.73%
Business 13.13%
13.13%
12.91%
Student
13.77%
13.77%
13.77%
Airline  14.54%
14.54%
14.31%
Cash back  14.61%
14.61%
14.16%
Reward 14.78%
14.78%
14.51%
Instant approval 15.49%
15.49%
15.99%
Bad credit 23.41%
23.41%
24.96%
Methodology: The national average credit card APR is comprised of 100 of the most popular credit cards in the country, including cards from dozens of leading U.S. issuers and representing every card category listed above. (Introductory, or teaser, rates are not included in the calculation.)
Source: CreditCards.com
Updated: Jan. 25, 2012

Interest rates on new credit card offers held steady for the second straight week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

The average annual percentage rate (APR) remained unchanged at 14.95 percent, as we saw no APR changes this week for any of the cards that we track.

The good news for consumers is that this is the sixth straight week without an increase in the national average since the average hit its record high -- 15.22 percent -- in mid-December. That most recent increase was the largest of 2011 at nearly .25 percent. However, it's one of just two increases seen in the national average since mid-October.

It is also the furthest into the year that the national APR average has gone without an increase.  Since CreditCards.com began tracking rates in 2007, APRs have typically increased in the first or second week of the year and risen multiple times in the first month. 

For example, in 2010, the national average jumped from 12.87 percent to 14.12 percent from early January to the first week of February. And in 2009, the average began the year at 11.78 percent but jumped to 12.19 percent in the first two weeks of the year.

In 2012, the only movement has been downward -- a drop from 15.14 percent to 14.95 percent on Jan. 11. Every other week of 2012 so far has seen rates stay unchanged.

That frequent lack of movement continues a theme seen in 2011. Though rates reached record levels in 2011, the national average stayed put on a weekly basis nearly as often as it moved. 

  • Rates were unchanged on a week-to-week basis 25 different times in 2011. That's more than twice as many times as 2010 (11 times).
  • Rates fell week-to-week 11 times in 2011, which is down from 2010 when it dropped 18 times.
  • Rates increased 16 times in 2011 -- again, well below 2010's total of 23 times.

Although this stability may make it seem like a good time to accrue credit lines, it's important to educate yourself when looking for a new credit card. Be sure to look at all of the terms for the credit card. Many cards come with a variety of fees which may combine to eat up any savings generated by low APRs or rewards programs.

See related: A guide to the Credit CARD Act of 2009

Published: January 25, 2012


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