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Rate survey: Interest rates hold steady for ninth straight week

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Interest rates on new credit card offers remained locked at 14.96 percent for the ninth consecutive week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 14.96%
14.96%
14.91%
Low interest 10.40%
10.40% 10.40%
Balance transfer 12.62%
12.62%
12.46%
Business 13.13%
13.13%
12.67%
Student
13.31%
13.31%
13.31%
Cash back  14.30%
14.30%
14.24%
Airline  14.63%
14.63%
14.63%
Reward 14.80%
14.80%
14.75%
Instant approval 15.49%
15.49%
15.49%
Bad credit 23.64%
23.64%
23.64%
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. 09, 2013

None of the cards that CreditCards.com tracks featured rate changes this week. However, one issuer did make at least one substantial change to a promotional offer that it uses to lure new customers.

Pentagon Federal Credit Union canceled its unconventional offer on the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards card and replaced it with a more traditional 0 percent balance transfer offer that lasts for 18 months.

Previously, new applicants were offered a low 4.99 percent interest rate on balance transfers for the full life of the balance. The lengthy promotional rate, which was first introduced in April 2012, was unique in that it was the only introductory offer tracked by CreditCards.com that didn't have a time limit.   

The credit union's distinctive balance transfer offer isn't gone completely, however. Two other Pentagon Federal Credit Union cards, the PenFed Promise card and the PenFed Defender American Express card, still feature the long-term 4.99 percent introductory interest rate. All other credit cards offered by Pentagon Federal Credit Union offer 0 percent interest on balance transfers for 18 months.

No other issuers tracked by CreditCards.com made significant changes to their card portfolios this week. But that's nothing new in today's card issuing environment. Credit card issuers have left the majority of their card offers alone for much of the past year and have even left the promotional terms on many credit cards unchanged.  

The exception has been Discover, which recently shook up its credit card lineup by launching a new flagship credit card called the "Discover it" card. (Yes, they spelled "it" without a capital letter.) Beginning in December, the issuer refocused its online marketing efforts on a brand-new line of products, including a standard no-fee cash-back credit card called Discover it and a student no-fee cash-back credit card called Discover it for students.  

Discover refreshes credit card lineup  
Discover officially launched the Discover it card products on Jan. 2. However, prior to the Christmas holidays, the issuer began heavily promoting the cards on its website and removed several cards, including the Discover Open Road card, the Discover More card, the Discover Student More card and the Discover Motiva card from its central product pages.  

Now, when cardholders log onto the Discover.com website and pull down the tab for credit cards, they will see links to only the Discover it card and the Discover it for students and to Discover's business credit cards. A link to the Discover Miles card is also available at the bottom of the Discover website. You can still apply for the other cards, but you have to search for them using the website's search bar.

The Discover it card isn't intended to replace these other Discover cards, says Discover spokeswoman Kathryn Henry. "However, [the Discover it card] is our new flagship product," wrote Henry in an email. So the marketing team at Discover is concentrating its efforts on promoting the new product line, she says. "Consumers can still apply for our other card products by searching Discover.com or calling (800) DISCOVER (347-2683) to speak with a live customer service representative," wrote Henry.  

New applicants for the new Discover it card may have trouble guessing what their APR is going to be, however. The Discover it card currently features a wide range of possible APRs, starting at 10.99 percent and topping out at 19.99 percent.

Students that qualify for the student version of the card may be offered an APR as low as 12.99 percent and as high as 18.99 percent.  

In a press release announcing the card's launch, the company touts the new Discover it card as a game changer and that "new card members will feel the difference the minute they receive the Discover it card. The card arrives via expedited delivery in a sleek and simple box. Inside, card members will find a modern, metallic blue card that resembles brushed steel, with their name and card number on the back of the card."

The card's features include no annual fee, flexible due dates and up to 5 percent cash-back in rotating categories.   

See related: 2013: What's in the (credit) cards for you?

Published: January 9, 2013


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