Rate survey: Credit card interest rates hold steady

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 14.99% 14.99%
Low interest 10.73%
10.73% 10.73%
Balance transfer 12.77%
Business 13.13%
Airline  14.44%
Cash back  14.70%
Reward 14.70%
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. 16, 2011

The average interest rate on a new credit card offer stayed static this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

However, that doesn't mean that all of the nation's largest credit card issuers were sitting on their hands.

Our weekly survey of 100 of the nation's most popular credit cards showed that the average annual percentage rate (APR) held at 14.99 percent for a second straight week. That's just one-tenth of a percentage point shy of the national APR average record high, which was set in mid-October.  

The only rate change we saw this week came from Citi. It raised the top end of the APR range on its Citi Forward card from 20.99 percent to 22.99 percent. The lower end of the range remained at 12.99 percent. Since we only include a card's lowest available rate in our calculations, the move did not impact the national average.

Citi did not offer comment on the change prior to the release of this report.

Even though Citi's move didn't send the national average higher, it's hardly welcome news for credit card holders, who are preparing for the holidays while wrestling with continued high unemployment and an economy that hasn't quite been able to find its footing since the recession began -- and may not anytime soon.

In a Nov. 14 letter, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco unveiled its gloomy assessment of America's short-term economic future, saying that the "gathering storms" of continued debt issues in Europe meant there was a 50-50 chance of a recession in the United States in 2012. 

Still, there is good news as well. Credit card delinquencies remain at near record lows, according to data from credit bureau TransUnion, despite a small uptick in the third quarter. And a survey from USAA indicates that more Americans plan to buy gifts this holiday season than did last year -- an indication that consumers are feeling more confident about the economic prospects than they have in recent years.

See related: Calculator: How long will it take to pay off your credit card balance?, Infographic: Americans plan to ramp up holiday spending in 2011


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Updated: 03-26-2019