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Survey: Average card rates remain fixed at 15 percent

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Average rates on new credit card offers remained unchanged again this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

For the 11th straight week, the national average annual percentage rate (APR) remained fixed at 15 percent.

While most issuers left interest rates alone this week, the sporting goods store Cabela's increased the minimum APR on the Cabela's Club Visa from 15.18 to 15.19 percent. The change was too small to affect the national average.

Cabela's also increased the retail card's maximum APR from 21.18 percent to 21.19 percent after the one-month Libor rate increased. Unlike most U.S. credit cards, which are tied to the prime rate, the Cabela's Club Visa is tied to Libor. When the Libor rate changes, the interest rate on the Cabela's Club Visa automatically changes as well.

Consumer payment rates hit all-time highs
Consumers are paying down their card balances at a faster clip, according to research from ratings agency Fitch. The monthly payment rate, which measures how much cardholders trim their outstanding balances, rose to an all-time high in August.

According to Fitch, monthly payment rates increased for the past three consecutive months. The rate is also up significantly from 2014 and is substantially higher than the historical average.

The uptick in payment rates indicates cardholders are moving away from making smaller payments to their credit cards and are working harder to keep card balances relatively low. Cardholders also appear to be more averse to carrying a balance and paying interest on their debt. For example, additional research conducted by the American Bankers Association earlier this year found that a larger share of cardholders are choosing to repay their balances in full each month.

The latest shift in payment preferences is notable considering that the economy has improved substantially in recent weeks. Immediately after the Great Recession, many cardholders sharply curbed card usage and aggressively paid down debt in order to lower household debt loads and limit financial risk. Now, as the economy continues to improve, some cardholders appear to be taking a more moderate approach to credit card debt: They are charging more overall to their cards, but rather than pay hefty interest charges, they are continuing to send larger payments to clear balances more quickly.  

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 15.00% 15.00%
14.87%
Low interest 11.62%
11.62% 11.53%
Cash back 15.27%
15.27%
15.26%
Balance transfer 14.12%
14.12%
14.00%
Business 12.85%
12.85%
12.85%
Student 13.14%
13.14%
13.14%
Airline 15.10%
15.10%
15.15%
Reward  15.14%
15.14%
14.99%
Instant approval 18.00%
18.00%
17.93%
Bad credit 22.73%
22.73%
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.)
Source: CreditCards.com
Updated: Sept. 2, 2015

See related: Average balance on cards edges down, Not knowing your interest rate can hurt you

Published: September 2, 2015


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Updated: 09-02-2015


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