Rate survey: Average card APR holds steady at 16.41 percent

Kelly Dilworth
Personal finance writer
Specializing in new trends in credit


Interest rates on new credit card offers remained at a record high this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

For the sixth week in a row, the national average APR registered at an all-time high of 16.41 percent.

CreditCards.com reviewed the APRs, annual fees and promotional terms of 100 of the most popular U.S. credit cards.

None of the cards included in the weekly rate report advertised a new interest rate. Issuers also left promotional terms, such as 0 percent balance transfer offers and introductory APRs, alone.

Interest rates are currently at their highest point since CreditCards.com began tracking rates in mid-2007. Over the past year, the average card APR has expanded by nearly a full percentage point, causing cardholders’ minimum payments to significantly increase. On March 14, 2017, for example, the average card APR was 15.51 percent – 0.90 percent lower than it is now.

Average card rates are expected to keep growing over the next year as the Federal Reserve gradually increases interest rates. When the Federal Reserve revises its benchmark interest rate, most variable rate cards change rates by the same amount. 

Capital One debuts virtual payment option for its credit cards

It’s getting easier to securely pay for goods and services online without disclosing your credit card number.

Capital One has added a new feature to its virtual assistant service Eno that helps you create virtual credit card numbers for your online purchases. The new service will create a different number for every merchant you visit. That way, if hackers gain access to the number, they won’t be able to use it anywhere else.

Capital One will also store different numbers for retailers you routinely visit so you don’t have to create a new number every time you shop.

Capital One is the third major credit card issuer to offer virtual card numbers, following Bank of America and Citi. Bank of America’s ShopSafe feature allows cardholders to shop with a disposable number linked to their account. Citi offers virtual account numbers for a limited selection of Citi cards.

A number of alternative payment providers and third party account services also allow cardholders to shop online without using their real credit card numbers. Privacy.com, for example, allows users to create single-use virtual debit cards for stores they don’t visit often and custom virtual cards for favorite retailers.

Similarly, Token Payments allows you to link your favorite credit card to the secure payment platform and pay for goods and services using virtual numbers, dubbed “tokens,” rather than your card number.

Corporations are also starting to use virtual card numbers instead of permanent numbers in an effort to increase efficiency and protect against fraud. The business-to-business payment company ComData offers a virtual card service that generates a temporary Mastercard number for payments to suppliers. ComData announced March 6 that it’s teaming up with the payment processor Noventis on a new initiative so that more companies will be able to make or accept virtual payments.

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 16.41% 16.41%
Low interest 13.14%
13.14% 12.88%
Cash back 16.67%
Balance transfer 15.63%
Business 13.93%
Student 15.92%
Airline 16.41%
Reward  16.51%
Instant approval 18.82%
Bad credit 23.62%
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 14, 2018

See related: It may soon be safer to type passwords on public Wi-Fi, Fed: Card balances grew by $700 million in January 

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Updated: 02-18-2019