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Rate survey: Average card APR jumps to record high of 17.64 percent

Summary

The average credit card interest rate soared Wednesday to another all-time record high.

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The average credit card interest rate soared Wednesday to another all-time record high. The national average APR climbed to 17.64 percent after two card issuers hiked rates on select cards.

Every week, CreditCards,com evaluates the APRs, annual fees and promotional terms of 100 U.S. credit cards. Among the cards that CreditCards.com regularly evaluates, three advertised higher interest rates this week, causing the national average to increase.

See related: Historic credit card interest rates chart

Bank of America, Capital One raise rates on some cards

Bank of America increased the single APR on the BankAmericard Secured card from 22.24 percent to 25.24 percent – a difference of 3 percentage points. That helped push the average minimum APR for cards designed for consumers with bad credit to 25.33 percent. The average maximum APR for subprime cards stands at 26.08 percent.

Meanwhile, Capital One hiked the APRs on two of its rewards cards, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

Consumers who apply for the Quicksilver card are now offered a range starting at 16.24 percent and maxing out at 26.24 percent. Previously, the card’s APRs were 1 percentage point lower.

Consumers who seek out the Venture Rewards card are also being offered significantly higher rates. The Venture Rewards card’s lowest available APR, for example, rose by more than 2 percentage points to 17.99 percent. Previously, applicants with the best scores were offered a minimum APR of 15.24 percent. Capital One left the Venture Rewards card’s maximum APR alone at 25.24 percent.

The higher rates on the two Capital One cards helped push the average minimum APR for rewards credit cards to 17.51 percent. Meanwhile, the average maximum APR for rewards cards currently stands at 25.27 percent.

Interest rates on all credit cards have climbed steadily in recent years as the Federal Reserve gradually increases its benchmark interest rate, the federal funds rate. When the Fed increases rates, most variable rate cards eventually match the change.

However, independent rate increases have been much more rare – particularly on a card’s lowest available rate.

Capital One and Bank of America have been among the few issuers in recent months to independently hike rates on select cards, causing the national average to increase.

Earlier this year, for example, Bank of America bumped up the APRs on its line of cash back cards by three quarters of a percentage point after retooling its cash back program.

Meanwhile, Capital One hiked the APRs on its line of cards for consumers with average credit.

See related:Guide to rising credit card interest rates

Card APRs have climbed 2.5 percentage points in three years

Overall, CreditCards.com data shows that consumers shopping for a new card have seen advertised rates climb by roughly 2 and a half percentage points over the past three years.

APR increases have particularly accelerated over the past year as the Federal Reserve continued to hike interest rates and issuers tweaked new offers.

Since Feb. 27, 2018, the average APR for new card offers has climbed from 16.41 percent to 17.64 percent – a difference of 1.23 percentage points.

Between February 2017 and February 2018, by contrast, the average card APR climbed by less than 1 percent.

Before the Fed began hiking rates in late 2015 after a multiyear pause, changes to new card offers were much more rare. Between 2011 and 2015, for example, the average APR for the year increased by just 0.11 percentage points. Meanwhile, the average APR for 2012 was exactly the same as the average APR for 2015: 14.96 percent.

Consumers who are hoping to see lower rates on new offers are unlikely to get a reprieve any time soon. Issuers rarely trim interest rates these days. As a result, the weekly average for credit card rates has fallen just once over the past year. Meanwhile, the average APR for the year has increased every year since 2015.

CreditCards.com’s Weekly Rate Report

Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average17.64%17.57%17.03%
Low interest14.63%14.61%13.90%
Cash back17.58%17.55%17.33%
Balance transfer16.87%16.77%16.23%
Business15.24%15.24%14.59%
Student17.79%17.79%16.48%
Airline17.50%17.37%16.93%
Rewards17.51%17.46%17.11%
Instant approval20.06%20.06%19.45%
Bad credit25.33%24.99%24.18%
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. 27, 2019

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: September 18th, 2019
Business
15.45%
Airline
17.38%
Cash Back
17.52%
Reward
17.39%
Student
17.58%

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