Rate survey: Credit card APRs reach another record high

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 15.00% 14.97%
Low interest 10.73%
10.73% 11.18%
Balance transfer 12.77%
Business 13.13%
Airline  14.44%
Cash back  14.70%
Reward 14.71%
Instant approval 15.99%
Bad credit 24.96%
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: Oct. 12, 2011

Another week, another record for credit card interest rates.

Annual percentage rates (APRs) on new credit card offers reached 15 percent for the first time in the four-year history of CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report. It's the seventh straight week in which the national average APR for a new credit card offer has either topped or equaled a record high, dating back to late August.

Several issuers made APR changes this week. However, the changes to the national average were spurred by Capital One's recent revamping of its business card program, which is now called Spark. As a result of this change, two cards that CreditCards.com tracks -- the Visa Business Platinum card and the Visa Business Platinum with Preferred No Hassle Miles -- are no longer offered. Those two cards were removed from our database and replaced with Spark cards that were most similar to the ones being removed. The APR difference between the new cards and the old cards forced the national average slightly higher.

Here's what happened:

  • The Visa Business Platinum card (19.9 percent) was replaced with the new Spark Classic card (22.9 percent). Both cards were targeted at businesses with either limited or less-than-spectacular credit. In fact, on the business card page of Capital One's website, the Classic is the only Spark card that specifically mentions businesses that are trying to build credit. (One difference between the two cards: The Classic offers rewards, while the Business Platinum card didn't.) The 3-percentage-point difference between the two cards' APRs sent the national average higher.
  • The Visa Business Platinum card with Preferred No Hassle Miles (14.9 percent to 22.9 percent) was replaced with the new Spark Miles Select card (14.9 percent to 19.9 percent). Since we use the low end of APR ranges in calculating our rates averages, this swap had no impact on the national average.

Capital One spokeswoman Pam Girardo says the issuer will roll out an advertising campaign next week that focuses on the Spark Miles and Spark Cash cards, the two cards the bank considers the "flagship products" of the new program. (Both of those have flat APRs of 13.9 percent.) The program includes a total of six new offerings, including the Spark Select card, which offers an APR as low as 9.9 percent and 0 percent introductory APR through July 2012.

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"Small business cards are not a one-size-fits-all solution for business owners," Girardo said, "and we believe we can offer cards that suit their individual business needs and help them achieve more."

Other issuers made moves as well. Citi raised the high ends of the APR ranges on two of its cards -- the Diamond Preferred Rewards MasterCard and the Platinum Select MasterCard -- from 20.99 percent to 21.99 percent. Both cards' low ends stayed at 11.99 percent. Since, as mentioned earlier, only the low ends of ranges are factored in to our average calculations, the moves had no impact on the national average.

Citi did not offer comment on the changes.

The other change came from subprime issuer CreditOne. The bank eliminated the high end of the APR range on its Visa Platinum card. The card had previously been offered with a range of 23.90 percent to 26.90 percent. Now, it comes with a flat rate of 23.90 percent.

CreditOne didn't return a phone call for comment on the changes.

See related: Calculator: How long will it take to pay off your credit card balance?

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Updated: 02-19-2019