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Survey: Average card APR sits tight at 15% for 13th week

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Interest rates on new credit card offers still aren't moving, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

For the 13th week in a row, the national average annual percentage rate remained glued at 15 percent after credit card issuers declined to change interest rates on advertised cards. Among the 100 cards monitored weekly by CreditCards.com, not a single card advertised a new rate or annual fee this week. Card issuers also left promotional APRs and interest-free balance transfer offers unchanged for the third consecutive week.

Interest rates have remained in place for a record number of weeks this year, making comparing rates more predictable. APRs on existing credit cards could change soon, however, if the Federal Reserve announces a federal funds rate increase at its Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Thursday. A potential rate increase would affect variable rate cards, but new-card offer rates that make up the rate report would not be directly affected right away. 

Consumers not ready for EMV shift
As the deadline approaches for retailers to switch to EMV-enabled payments, many credit card holders have already received replacement cards with small square chips embedded in the plastic. But according to a survey released Sept. 15 by the payment company Harbortouch, most consumers still don't know what the chips are for or what to do with them.

The payment company polled 15,000 U.S. adults at the end of August and found that 56 percent didn't know what an EMV card was, even though some of those respondents may have already received one in the mail. Consumers with low incomes were especially likely to be in the dark. Almost 60 percent of consumers who made between $25,000 and $49,999 were unaware of EMV. Up to 74 percent of consumers who made more than $150,000, by contrast, knew about the anti-fraud technology.

Among those who were aware of EMV, nearly half were doubtful whether the more secure technology would do much to protect their personal details.

The survey also found that more than half of consumers said they still hadn't received replacement cards embedded with EMV chips from all of their card issuers even though the deadline for retailers is fast approaching.

Beginning Oct. 1, retailers who don't accept chip-enabled payments will be liable for fraudulent purchases on chip-enabled cards. To get ready for the deadline, card issuers have been mailing replacement cards with EMV chips and adding the chips to their newest cards. Meanwhile, some retailers have also begun swapping out their payment equipment and accepting chip-enabled payments.

However, a large number of retailers haven't updated their terminals yet, setting consumers up for considerable confusion when some stores require cardholders to dip their chip-enabled cards into an EMV-enabled terminal and other stores ask them to swipe their cards instead. "The findings of this study indicate EMV could pose serious challenges for credit card companies and retailers as the busy holiday shopping season approaches," said Harbortouch's Jared Isaacman in a news release. "Varying rates of adoption and opinions on the benefits of 'chip' cards means more can be done by all parties to ensure a smooth transition on October 1 and beyond."

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%
15.28%
Balance transfer 14.12%
14.12%
14.01%
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%
15.00%
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. 16, 2015

See related: 8 FAQs about EMV credit cards

 

Published: September 16, 2015


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