Rate survey: Rates tick up to 14.96 percent

Kelly Dilworth
Personal finance writer
Specializing in new trends in credit

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Interest rates on new credit card offers inched up this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 14.96%
Low interest 10.29%
10.29% 10.40%
Balance transfer 12.59%
Business 13.13%
Cash back  14.17%
Airline  14.63%
Reward 14.76%
Instant approval 15.49%
Bad credit 23.64%
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. 6, 2013

The national average annual percentage rate (APR) rose to 14.96 percent Wednesday. This is the first time average rates have increased since October 2012.  

Chase spurred this week's rate change by raising the APR on the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature credit card from 13.24 percent to 14.24 percent.

The issuer also removed the rewards card from its marketing pages on the Chase website this week. It's unclear whether the issuer is phasing out the card or simply retooling the way it markets it. The card is still offered on the Amazon.com website, with the slightly higher APR. 

Chase spokesman Steve O'Halloran confirmed the rate change, but did not provide a comment on the other changes. 

Several issuers tweaked offers
Chase wasn't the only issuer to make changes to its card portfolio this week. Several other issuers made small changes to the credit card offers they are marketing online, including Discover and American Express.

Discover, for example, took down the application page for the Discover Student More card after taking it off its primary website earlier this year. In December, the issuer had removed the "Student More" card from its central marketing pages. However, the application could still be found elsewhere online.

In its place, the issuer is actively pushing the new Discover "it" card for students, which features the same APR as the Discover Student More card and similar cash-back rewards. To keep up with the changes, CreditCards.com replaced the Discover Student More card with the Discover "it" card for students in the CreditCards.com rates database.

This is the second time CreditCards.com has added a Discover "it" card to its database. Discover has aggressively marketed its new line of "it" cards since the beginning of January. The cards are intended to be the issuer's flagship credit cards, Discover says.

American Express also made a small offer change this week, dropping the promotional balance transfer offer on the Jet Blue credit card. The airline card previously featured a promotional balance transfer rate of 3.99 percent for 9 months.

In addition, the sporting goods retailer Cabela's made a small change to the maximum APR on its store rewards card, the Cabela's Club Visa. The issuer lowered the maximum rate from 18.20 percent to 18.19 percent, likely to reflect changes in the LIBOR rate. Unlike most U.S. credit cards which are tied to the prime rate, the Cabela's Club Visa is tied to the London Interbank Offered Rate, known as LIBOR. When the One Month LIBOR rate changes (as it recently did), the APR on the Cabela's Club Visa goes up or down as well.

The change to the card's maximum APR didn't affect the national average, however, because CreditCards.com only considers a card's lowest available rate when calculating average interest rates. The Cabela's Club Visa's minimum APR remains at 9.99 percent.  

Individually, the changes issuers made to their card portfolios this week were minor. However, taken together, they are notable in that they show issuers are making at least some changes to their credit card portfolios.

Credit card offers have remained remarkably stable through much of the past year, with few issuers making substantial changes to APRs, promotional balance transfers or interest-free offers.

See related: Fed: Banks remain reluctant to ease terms on new cards

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Updated: 03-22-2019