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Rate survey: Average card APR remains unchanged at 15.18 percent

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The average APR on new credit card offers remained fixed at 15.18 percent Wednesday, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

For the fourth consecutive week, the national average annual percentage rate didn’t move.

None of the cards tracked by CreditCards.com advertised new interest rates. Promotional terms were also left unchanged.

Average rates on new card offers are currently near record highs. For all of 2016, so far, the national average APR has remained well above 15.10 percent. As a result, the average APR for the year has climbed to its highest point since CreditCards.com began tracking rates in mid-2007. The average APR for 2016, for example, is currently 15.18 percent. In November 2015, it was 14.95 percent.

Consumers embrace new credit
Despite higher rates on new card offers, consumers are continuing to open up new cards at a faster clip than last year. According to research released Nov. 1 by the American Bankers Association, consumers had opened nearly 85 million card accounts. The tally of new accounts – defined as accounts opened in the previous two years – was 11 percent higher than the count taken a year earlier. As a result, the total number of open credit cards has reached its highest point since the Great Recession, the banking trade group said.  

Consumers have been steadily increasing the number of card applications they fill out for the past several years. According to the ABA, applications for new credit cards have nearly doubled since 2011, when consumers applied for just 44 million new cards.

Consumers with good credit are especially likely to open a new card these days. Consumers with midtier credit scores, for example, have opened 29 million new credit cards – up from 14 million new cards in 2011. Meanwhile, consumers with excellent credit opened 31 million new credit cards – up from 19 million new cards in the spring of 2011.

Consumers with lower credit scores have also opened substantially more credit cards this year than they did prior to 2015; however, banks didn’t start revving up their subprime card approvals until early last year.

Between 2011 and 2014, for example, the number of subprime card accounts grew at a relatively slow pace – especially compared to 2016. In 2014, subprime cardholders opened just 16 million new card accounts – up from 11 million card accounts in 2011. In 2016, by contrast, subprime cardholders opened 25 million new accounts – up from 21 million new accounts in 2015.

Despite approving more applications overall, card issuers are still limiting the total amount of credit they approve and have kept credit limits for most cardholders relatively low. For example, the average credit limit for cardholders with subprime scores has grown to just $2,472. Meanwhile, the average credit limit for cardholders with the best credit scores has climbed to just $9,779. Credit limits on existing credit card accounts have also stayed relatively flat since the first quarter of 2016.

CreditCards.com Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 15.18% 15.18%
15.19%
Low interest 12.00%
12.00% 11.96%
Cash back 15.33%
15.33%
15.30%
Balance transfer 14.41%
14.41%
14.39%
Business 13.12%
13.12%
13.12%
Student 13.42%
13.42%
13.42%
Airline 15.13%
15.13%
15.17%
Reward  15.24%
15.24%
15.30%
Instant approval 17.86%
17.86%
18.04%
Bad credit 22.86%
22.86%
22.56%
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: Nov. 2, 2016

See related: Credit cards’ rate ranges make comparison shopping difficult, No-annual-fee cards with the best perks, rewards

Published: November 2, 2016


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Updated: 12-03-2016


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