Rate survey: Credit card interest rates see 2nd drop in 3 weeks

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 14.98% 14.99%
Low interest 10.73%
10.73% 11.18%
Balance transfer 12.77%
Business 13.13%
Airline  14.44%
Cash back  14.65%
Reward 14.69%
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: Nov. 2, 2011

Interest rates on new credit card offers inched lower for the second time in three weeks, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

The average annual percentage rate (APR) dropped to 14.98 percent this week. The small decline, coupled with a similar drop seen two weeks earlier, represents a shift away from the months-long trend we've seen toward higher rates.  

The First National Bank of Omaha spurred the change when it dropped the low end of the APR range offered for its First National Bank of Omaha Graphite American Express card.  The card had featured a rate range of 14.99 percent to 19.99 percent, but it was lowered to 13.99 percent to 19.99 percent. 

First National Bank of Omaha had not offered comment before this story was published.

A welcome change
The national APR average is slowly beginning to drop after going more than two months -- from early August through mid-October -- without a single week-to-week decline. The national APR average reached its record high during that period, hitting 15 percent in mid-October. The current national average is the lowest it has been since early October, but the rate is still high by historic standards. For example, the rate at the beginning of 2011 was 14.71 percent, and at the beginning of 2010, the national average stood at just 12.87 percent.

In addition to dropping the overall national APR average, First National Bank of Omaha's move sent two other categories lower. The cash back category dropped from its record high of 14.7 percent to 14.65 percent. The rewards category also saw a decrease, falling from 14.70 percent to 14.69 percent. However, despite the declines, the averages are still way up from where those categories stood at the beginning of 2011.

Uncertainty regarding fledgling world and U.S. economies is what's spurred high rates and kept them there, said David Nice, associate economist at Mesirow Financial. As stability returns to those markets, rates will begin to fall accordingly, he says.

See related: An indepth guide to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, Calculator: How long will it take to pay off your credit card balance?

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Updated: 03-22-2019