BACK

Rate Report

Rate survey: Average card rate sits tight at 15.16%

Summary

March 9, 2016: The average credit card interest rate didn’t budge this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers; and please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

The average credit card interest rate didn’t budge this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

For the fifth week in a row, the national average annual percentage rate (APR) stayed at 15.16 percent. None of the cards included in the weekly rate report advertised new interest rates. Most of the cards’ introductory offers remained unchanged as well.

American Express sweetened the 0 percent promotional offers on its EveryDay credit card. Cardholders now have 15 months to take advantage of interest-free purchases and balance transfers. Previously, cardholders had just 12 months to enjoy a 0 percent rate.

Average rates on new card offers are currently near record highs. Since January 1, the national average APR has hovered just above 15.10 percent. It’s the longest period of time rates have remained that high since CreditCards.com began tracking rates in 2007.

Credit card usage on the rise

Interest rates on new and current credit card accounts are expected to rise even higher in 2016 as the Federal Reserve gradually increases the federal funds rate – a key benchmark interest rate that affects APRs on a wide range of variable rate loans. But despite the impending rate hikes, consumer appetite for credit continues to increase.

According to research from the American Bankers Association, the consumer credit card market grew steadily last year as people opened more credit accounts and made more purchases with credit.

In the third quarter of 2015, lenders mailed nearly 79 million new credit cards to consumer households – nearly 17 percent more than the year before. As a result, the total number of open credit card accounts grew by 5 percent in the third quarter, expanding to roughly 320 million accounts by the beginning of October.

Consumers with lower credit scores enjoyed the biggest gains, according to the American Bankers Association’s Credit Card Market Monitor. For example, the number of new card accounts belonging to consumers with subprime credit scores grew by 30 percent, year-over-year, while new accounts belonging to consumers with good-but-not-great credit scores jumped by 26 percent. Meanwhile, consumers with the highest credit scores opened 22 percent more card accounts compared to the year before.

Average credit lines also increased in the third quarter. Average credit lines on new prime accounts grew by 2.5 percent, while average credit lines on super prime accounts expanded by nearly 2 percent. Credit lines on new subprime accounts also grew, but at a slower rate. Despite offering more cards to consumers with lower credit scores, card issuers are still keeping credit limits for their riskiest customers relatively low, said the American Bankers Association.

Consumers, meanwhile, are taking advantage of their larger credit limits by spending more heavily on their cards.

Cardholders made a record number of purchases in the third quarter, causing purchase volumes to notably increase, according to the banking trade group. According to the American Bankers Association, cardholders made a record number of purchases in the third quarter of 2015, causing purchase volumes to notably increase. Consumers with the highest credit scores, for example, spent nearly 4 percent more in the third quarter than they did the previous year. Meanwhile, consumers with the lowest credit scores spent more than 6 percent more in the third quarter.

“Recent growth in the credit card market is consistent with what we’re seeing in the broader economy,” said the ABA’s Jess Sharp in a March 8 news release. “With nearly 6 million jobs created over the last two years, it’s natural to see strong growth in new cards and purchase volumes. Faster wage growth and healthy levels of disposable income have helped shore up many account holders who may have had difficulty managing their credit in the past.”

CreditCards.com’s Weekly Rate Report
Avg. APRLast week 6 months ago
National average15.00%15.00%14.87%
Low interest11.62%11.62%11.53%
Cash back15.27%15.27%15.28%
Balance transfer14.12%14.12%14.01%
Business12.85%12.85%12.85%
Student13.14%13.14%13.14%
Airline15.10%15.10%15.15%
Reward15.14%15.14%15.00%
Instant approval18.00%18.00%17.93%
Bad credit22.73%22.73%22.48%
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: Sept. 16, 2015

See related:Fed: Card balances fall first time in 10 months 

What’s up next?

In Rate Report

Poll: Most who ask get late fees waived, rates reduced

Cardholders who ask, receive. Yet only a small number are making those requests, says a CreditCards.com poll of 981 cardholders

Published: March 9, 2016

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: June 19th, 2019
Business
15.61%
Airline
17.54%
Cash Back
17.68%
Reward
17.57%
Student
17.79%

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.