Average APR on new card offers holds steady at 14.9 percent

By's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 14.90% 14.90%
Low interest 11.62%
11.62% 10.37%
Cash back 15.26%
Balance transfer 14.04%
Business 12.85%
Student 13.14%
Airline 15.10%
Reward  15.04%
Instant approval 17.93%
Bad credit 22.48%
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: April 1, 2015

The national average APR on new credit card offers remained unchanged this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

None of the cards tracked by advertised new interest rates. As a result, the national average annual percentage rate (APR) stayed at 14.9 percent after increasing the previous week for the first time in nearly five months.

The average APR for cash back credit cards fell to 15.26 percent. However, that was due to a database change, rather than a term change. Occasionally, refreshes the cards in the database in order to more accurately reflect the current card market.

Average rates on new credit card offers are lower now than they've been in years. The last time average rates fell below 14.92 percent was in 2012. For most of 2014, average rates hovered just above 15 percent.

Credit easier to get -- for some
Lenders are approving a larger percentage of applications, according to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. But consumers with imperfect credit aren't sharing in the fun.

According to the New York Fed's latest Survey of Consumer Expectations, fewer consumers overall are getting rejected for credit. The percentage of consumers with lower credit scores getting approved for a new loan, however, has declined since last year.

Nearly 59 percent of consumers with credit scores below 680 were rejected for some type of loan in the past year, including credit cards, car loans and mortgages. In February 2014, by contrast, slightly more than 51 percent of consumers with credit scores below 680 said they were rejected.

The uptick in rejections indicates that some banks are making it harder for consumers with lower scores to get loan approval.

Consumers with excellent credit, by contrast, are having much less trouble convincing banks they're worthy of additional credit. In February 2015, just 5.7 percent of consumers with a credit score above 760 said they were rejected for a loan -- down from 6.2 percent in 2014.

Meanwhile, older consumers had the easiest time getting accepted for additional credit. For example, around 80 percent of consumers over the age of 60 were approved for a new loan sometime in the past year. Fewer than 71 percent of consumers between the ages of 41 and 59 could say the same.

Card approvals tick up
Card issuers, in particular, have become significantly more lenient about the number of applications they approve -- particularly compared to last fall. Just 20.4 percent of consumers who applied for a new card sometime in the past year said their application had been denied, down from 22 percent in October.

Issuers have also become more generous with credit limit increases. For example, just 24.3 percent of cardholders said they were unable to get a credit limit increase when they asked for one -- down from 38.5 percent last fall.

Despite being more generous, issuers are having a harder time attracting applications from cardholders with excellent credit -- perhaps because those cardholders already have multiple cards crowding their wallet. According to the New York Fed, just 23.5 percent of consumers with credit scores above 760 applied for a new card -- down from 27.9 percent last fall.

Consumers with lower credit scores, by contrast, sent in significantly more applications. Almost 39 percent of consumers with a credit score below 680 applied for a new credit card sometime in the past year -- up from around 34 percent in October.

See related: Fed: January credit card balances down 1.6 percent

Published: April 1, 2015

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