Rate survey: Average card rates remain at 15.16% for fourth week

The average credit card interest rate stayed put Wednesday at 15.16 percent, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

Several card issuers tweaked interest rates this week, but the changes were too small to affect the national average.

The retail chains Wal-Mart and Meijer both increased rates on their store credit cards by a quarter of a percentage point in response to the Federal Reserve’s 2015 rate increase. Since December, 94 cards in the CreditCards.com database have increased rates by that same amount.

The Wal-Mart MasterCard now offers an APR ranging from 17.15 to 23.15 percent, while the Meijer card offers rates between 20.24 and 24.24 percent.

Earlier in the year, Regions Bank also increased the APR on the Regions Visa Platinum Rewards card by 0.25 percent, but then reversed that change this week.

Consumers slow down credit card payments
Consumers paid down credit card debt more slowly last month after ratcheting up payments at a record pace in January, according to new research from credit rating agency Fitch.

Fitch’s monthly payment index, which measures the rate at which consumers pay down their monthly balances, rose to its highest level in more than 20 years in January as consumers paid off outstanding debts at record rates. 

After aggressively paying down the debt accumulated over the holidays, consumers slowed down the pace considerably in February and began paying off debts at about the same rate as in February 2015.   

Overall, consumers are still treating credit cards with much more care than before the recession. However, new research from Bankrate indicates consumers are having a harder time building up their emergency savings, which could lead to more missed payments down the road.

According to a survey released in February, only 52 percent of Americans have set aside enough emergency savings that they could pay off all their card debt in a pinch -- down from 58 percent in 2015.

“The percentage of Americans with more emergency savings than credit card debt dropped in the past year,” said Bankrate’s Greg McBride in an article about the survey. “The reading now is the same as in 2011 when the question was first asked, reflecting zero progress over that time.”

The survey also found that around 22 percent of consumers currently carry more credit card debt than emergency savings. Meanwhile, around 21 percent are credit card debt-free, but don’t have any emergency savings, either.  

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 15.16% 15.16%
Low interest 11.96%
11.96% 11.62%
Cash back 15.21%
Balance transfer 14.35%
Business 13.12%
Student 13.42%
Airline 15.17%
Reward  15.26%
Instant approval 18.04%
Bad credit 22.56%
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: March 2, 2016

See related: New lenders shun FICO, create their own scores, Allocating card payments on a limited budget

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Updated: 03-21-2019