Rate survey: Average card rate jumps to 15.18%

Average rates on new credit card offers rose to a four-year high this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

The national average annual percentage rate jumped to 15.18 percent Wednesday after several cards increased rates on new offers.

Eleven cards in the CreditCards.com database posted higher interest rates. Ten of those posting higher APRs this week were bumped by a quarter of a percent, matching the Federal Reserve's December 2015 federal funds rate increase.

As a result, 91 out of 100 cards in the CreditCards.com database have now increased rates by 0.25 percent.

Meanwhile, Pentagon Federal Credit Union significantly increased rates on at least one card this week. The minimum APR on the PenFed Promise Visa rose from 7.99 percent to 10.24 percent, while the card's maximum rate increased from 16.99 percent to 17.99 percent.

Lenders tighten loans for businesses
Banks are making it harder for businesses to qualify for a lower cost loan, according to the Federal Reserve's most recent Senior Loan Officer Survey.

According to the Fed's January 2016 survey, released Feb. 1, a significant number of banks said they raised their approval standards in the fourth quarter of 2016 and made it harder for businesses to get approved for a new loan or bigger credit limit. Some banks also made commercial borrowing more expensive.

In addition, banks predicted that commercial loans with favorable terms would continue to become harder to get as the year goes on, particularly if economic growth continues to soften.

Consumer loans, by contrast, have become somewhat easier to get in recent months -- particularly for borrowers seeking larger loans such as mortgages and car loans. For example, a substantial number of banks said that mortgage requirements have become less stringent in recent months. Meanwhile, auto loans and installment loans have also become somewhat easier to qualify for, according to the survey.

Approval standards for credit cards, by contrast, have tightened at some banks, according to the Fed, while easing gradually at others. 

Three out of 53 banks said they made it at least somewhat harder for consumers to qualify for a new credit card, according to the survey, while four banks said they made it easier. Forty-six banks said approval standards for new credit cards largely stayed the same last quarter.  

Banks were more likely to increase credit limits. At least five large banks and one small bank granted larger credit limits in the fourth quarter, while only two said they trimmed them.

One large bank also said it lowered the minimum required credit score to get approved for a new credit card. Another bank said it increased the minimum required score.

Despite higher interest rates on the majority of new card offers, demand for new credit has largely stayed the same.

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 15.18% 15.13%
Low interest 11.96%
11.88% 11.62%
Cash back 15.26%
Balance transfer 14.35%
Business 13.12%
Student 13.42%
Airline 15.17%
Reward  15.28%
Instant approval 18.21%
Bad credit 22.88%
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: Feb. 3, 2016

See related: Survey: 5 in 6 Americans admit to impulse buys, Poll: 13 million Americans commit financial infidelity

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Updated: 02-18-2019