Average card APR remains fixed at 15.16 percent for 9th week

The average credit card interest rate held firm Wednesday, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

For the ninth week in a row, the national average percentage rate remained at 15.16 percent.

Two credit cards included in the weekly rate report advertised new interest rates. However, the changes didn’t affect the national average.

The sporting goods store Cabela’s clipped the APR on the Cabelas Club Visa card by just 0.01 percent after a change in the Libor rate, to which the Cabela card is indexed. Cabela’s Club members are now offered a range starting at 15.42 percent and ending at 21.42 percent.

Meanwhile, Chase added a new maximum APR to the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards premier card. Consumers who apply for the airline card may now be offered an APR as high as 23.24 percent. Previously, cardholders were given just a flat rate of 16.24 percent.

CFPB to resume collecting card agreements
The credit card agreement database maintained by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is about to get more useful as more card issuers contribute all their card agreements.

The deadline is nearly up for issuers to resume submitting their credit card agreements to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after given a yearlong break.

Issuers are required by the Credit CARD Act of 2009 to post their card agreements to both their websites and submit an updated copy every quarter to the CFPB. The CFPB regularly posts the updated agreements so that consumers can easily compare offers and see what different cards are charging.  

Last year, the consumer watchdog gave card issuers a one-year filing reprieve from submitting the documents while the CFPB updated its submission system. It continued posting agreements it pulled from the largest card issuers’ websites so that consumers could continue comparing terms on new card offers, but it temporarily let smaller issuers off the hook.

Beginning May 2, 2016, card issuers will have to resume submitting the agreements every quarter, according to a regulation notice posted in the Federal Register. Once issuers resume submitting terms to the CFPB, consumers and researchers will be able to get a more accurate sense of the current card landscape.    

Already, the CFPB has culled a number of insights from the agreements it has collected and used that knowledge to shed more light on current offers.

In a December 2015 report, for example, the CFPB found that most card agreements have become simpler and easier to read. However, card agreements aimed at consumers with lower credit scores tend to be longer and more complicated.

The CFPB also found that credit card terms have become much more forgiving in recent years thanks to the CARD Act’s restrictions on what card issuers can charge.

For example, the CFPB found the average credit card late fee dropped by 20 percent after the CARD Act was enacted. The law requires the fees to be “reasonable and proportional” to the missed payment.

The CFPB also found the total cost of credit – including interest rates and fees – has also declined significantly. 

“The CARD Act has helped people avoid more than $60 billion in gotcha credit card fees,” said CFPB director Richard Cordray in a December 2015 statement. “There is more work to do. But with commonsense rules in place, credit cards are safer and more affordable, credit is more available and companies remain profitable with improved customer satisfaction.”

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 14.36%
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: April 6, 2016

See related: Surprise! Many credit card agreements allow repossession 

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Updated: 03-25-2019