Survey: For 7th week, average card rate remains at 15.16 percent
By Kelly Dilworth | Published: March 23, 2016
The average credit card interest rate held firm this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. For the seventh week in a row, the national average annual percentage rate (APR) stayed put at 15.16 percent.
Two of the cards included in the CreditCards.com Weekly Rate Report advertised higher rates this week. But the rate hikes only affected the cards’ maximum interest rates, so the changes didn’t affect the national average. CreditCards.com considers only a card’s lowest available rate when calculating the national average. The changes were:
- Chase added a maximum APR of 19.49 percent to the Chase Ink Cash for Business credit card. Previously, cardholders were charged only a single APR of 13.49 percent.
- American Express increased the highest available APR on the Blue Cash Everyday card from 22.24 percent to 23.24 percent.
Retailers still struggling to shift
Most new credit cards now come with a small metallic chip that consumers can use at EMV-compliant payment terminals to make more-secure payments. But nearly six months after retailers were supposed to begin accepting chip-based payments, many are still having customers swipe their credit cards rather than dipping them.
As of October 2015, the card networks shifted liability for fraud that occurs on payment terminals that are not EMV compliant from card issuers – which have traditionally accepted the financial burden – to merchants that haven’t updated their terminals.
However, most retailers have been slow to make the switch. According to a February 2016 survey from the payment consulting company the Strawhecker Group, more than 60 percent of retailers still aren’t ready to accept EMV-enabled payments.
Analysts at the Strawhecker Group predict about half of all merchants will accept chip-enabled payments by June 2016. By the end of 2017, that number is expected to rise to around 90 percent.
Some retailers are now saying it’s not their fault they haven’t yet switched to EMV-enabled payments and are charging credit card companies with obstructing their shift to EMV compliance.
According to Courthouse News, merchants filed a class-action lawsuit earlier this month against several major credit card companies, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Wells Fargo. The merchants complained that the card companies were delaying the merchants’ ability to accept chip-enabled payments by forcing them to go through a stringent certification process that merchants claim is “impossible” to meet.
"The networks, the issuing banks and EMVCo knew from the outset – and the class members are now learning – that the 'certification' process would take years after the Ocober 1, 2015, liability shift was imposed,” wrote the plaintiffs in their complaint. Certification made it tough for merchants that waited until the last minute to make the switch.
In the meantime, while retailers wait for certification to be approved, they must still accept traditional magnetic stripe payments, even if they’ve upgraded their payment terminals so that they accept chip-based payments.
|CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report|
|Avg. APR||Last week||6 months ago|
|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.)|
|Updated: March 23, 2016|