Credit card interest rates move higher

Matt Schulz
Senior Industry Analyst
Keen observer of the payments and credit card industry.

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Credit card interest rates moved higher this week, according to the Weekly Rate Report.'s Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 14.83%
Low interest 10.73%
11.18% 11.87%
Balance transfer 12.76%
Business 12.91%
Cash back  13.91%
Airline 14.24%
Reward  14.40%
Instant approval 15.99%
Bad credit 24.96%
Methodology: The national average credit card APR is created from a weekly survey of the offers 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: 5-6-2011

The average annual percentage rate (APR) on new credit card offers rose to 14.83 percent this week.

A reshuffling of cards in the card database prompted this week’s change. Each week, we track changes in terms and conditions (APRs, annual fees, etc.) for 100 of the nation's most popular credit cards. Periodically, we adjust that database -- for example, removing and replacing outdated cards or tweaking current cards’ categories -- to reflect recent market changes. Those changes sent the national average higher this week.

Otherwise, the recent trend toward credit card issuers sitting on their hands continued. The only new APR change we saw this week came from Discover’s Miles card. The top end of the card’s APR range rose to 16.99 percent, up from 15.99 percent. The low end stayed at 10.99 percent. Since only the low ends of the range are used in our calculations, the move didn’t impact the national average.

Discover declined to comment on the change.

Credit easier to get
Data released this week shows that banks -- heartened by a growing economy -- are becoming more eager to give credit. The Federal Reserve's quarterly senior loan officers survey showed that 1 in 5 banks said they made it easier for borrowers to get credit in the first three months of 2011. The same survey showed that consumers are becoming more willing recipients as well, after years of reticence to put any money on plastic. A net 16 percent of banks said they had seen increased demand for larger credit lines and new credit cards. 

The Fed's G.19 report on consumer credit also indicated that Americans are getting back in the mood for spending on plastic. The report showed that in March consumer credit card debt increased for just the second time in about two-and-a-half years. Card balances grew by about $2 billion. Overall debt -- including both credit card debt and installment loans such as auto loans and student loans -- increased as well. As a whole, Americans are more than $2.42 trillion in debt.

See related: Survey shows banks' lending standards ease in first quarter of 2011

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Updated: 04-19-2019