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Rate survey: Average card APR remains at 17.67 percent for third week

Summary

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

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The average APR on new credit card offers remained at a record high this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. For the third week in a row, the national average APR registered at 17.67 percent.

That’s the highest average APR CreditCards.com has recorded since it began tracking rates in mid-2007.

A year ago, by contrast, the average minimum card APR stood at 16.47 percent. Three years ago, it registered at just 15.16 percent — a more than 2-percentage-point difference.

Credit card holders with the best credit scores aren’t the only ones who are seeing higher interest rates. CreditCards.com only takes into account a card’s lowest available APR when calculating the national average. However, median card APRs and maximum APRs have also soared in recent years, reaching heights that were rarely seen three years ago.

For example, the average maximum card APR now stands at 24.96 percent. Meanwhile, the average median card APR has climbed to 21.32 percent.

See related:  Historic credit card interest rates chart

Card issuers leave rates alone — for now

Every week, CreditCards.com evaluates the APRs, annual fees and promotional terms of 100 U.S. credit cards.

None of the credit cards included in the weekly rate report advertised new interest rates this week.

However, issuers have tweaked APRs at a higher rate in recent months than they have in previous years and so the average card APR may not stay at 17.67 percent for long.

The Federal Reserve could also spark more widespread rate hikes if it decides to increase its benchmark interest rate, the federal funds rate. When the Fed increases rates, most variable rate credit cards match the Fed’s change by the same amount.

See related:  Guide to rising credit card interest rates

U.S. Bank revises its promotions

Cardholders with excellent credit may be able to get a temporary reprieve from this year’s higher rates by applying for a card with a promotional 0 percent APR.

U.S. Bank recently added a 12-billing-cycle 0 percent balance transfer offer to the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card.

It also sweetened the promotional offer on its signature plain vanilla card, the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card, from 18 billing cycles to 20 billing cycles – which is well above the industry average. As a result, the Visa Platinum card is now one of the most generous balance transfer cards on the market.

Most cards that offer an interest-free promotion only give cardholders 12 to 15 months or billing cycles to carry a balance without paying interest.

The only other card from a major issuer that offers a comparable balance transfer offer is the Citi Simplicity card. That card offers select cardholders 21 months to pay off an old balance interest-free. The Simplicity card’s promotional APR for new purchases is also significantly shorter. For example, Citi cardholders who are offered a 21-month promotional balance transfer offer are only given 12 months for new purchases (then 16.24% – 26.24% variable).

U.S. Bank also extended the promotional offer on one of its business cards. Cardholders who apply for the U.S. Bank Business Platinum card will also be given a 0 percent APR for 20 billing cycles on both new purchases and balance transfers.

Such a lengthy offer is also rare for a business card. Many business cards, for example, don’t offer a balance transfer promotion at all or only give cardholders 6 to 12 months to carry an old balance interest-free.

Promotional APRs on new purchases that last longer than 12 months are also relatively rare. The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express offers a 15 month-introductory period. However, few business cards offer more than 15 months.

Not all U.S. Bank cards were given better terms this week, though.

U.S. Bank shortened the introductory APR on the U.S. Bank Business Edge Cash Rewards card from 15 months to 9 months. It also eliminated the card’s promotional balance transfer offer.

CreditCards.com’s Weekly Rate Report

Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average17.67%17.67%17.01%
Low interest14.67%14.67%14.13%
Cash back17.58%17.58%17.15%
Balance transfer16.89%16.90%16.28%
Business15.24%15.24%14.70%
Student17.79%17.79%17.10%
Airline17.50%17.50%16.97%
Rewards17.55%17.55%17.03%
Instant approval20.15%20.15%19.65%
Bad credit25.33%25.33%24.27%
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: April 3, 2019

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Published: April 3, 2019

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: August 21st, 2019
Business
15.55%
Airline
17.49%
Cash Back
17.63%
Reward
17.49%
Student
17.69%

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