Credit card interest rates sit tight at 14.92 percent

Interest rates on new card offers remain locked in place this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

This is the third consecutive week the national average annual percentage rate (APR) has come in at 14.92 percent. Card issuers also made no changes to promotional terms, including 0 percent APRs and balance transfer offers.

Average rates on new card offers are relatively low these days compared to the past three years, thanks to a string of rate changes that occurred in late 2014 and the first quarter of 2015. After remaining at or above 15 percent for more than a year, the national average APR began declining intermittently in November before hitting a nearly three-year low of 14.87 percent earlier this year. Rates have inched up somewhat since, but are still significantly lower than they were for most of 2014.

Issuers step up EMV adoption as merchant deadline looms
More U.S. cardholders are carrying EMV chip-enabled credit cards as part of a nationwide initiative to transition U.S. cardholders to the more secure technology. But according to a report released May 4, issuers still have several years to go before they finish rolling out the higher tech cards.

According to the Payments Security Task Force, eight of the nation's biggest card issuers say that at least 63 percent of all their credit and debit cards should be outfitted with an EMV chip by the end of 2015. However, they also say that it will likely take them until at least 2017 before nearly all their cards -- approximately 98 percent -- come with an EMV chip. 

A separate report released May 6 by the payment company EMVco, revealed that more than 100 million chip-enabled cards are currently in circulation in the United States, but just 0.12 percent of all transactions in 2014 actually used a chip for payment.

EMV technology is widely used around the world in order to help combat fraud. The technology helps protect cardholders' payment information by using a different transaction code for each purchase.

In October 2015, a new rule will take effect that shifts liability for fraudulent purchases from issuers to merchants if the affected card contains a chip, but the merchant doesn't use it to process the transaction. However, according to the Payment Security Task Force, it could be a while before cardholders can use their EMV chips anywhere they go.

So far, a number of issuers have gradually rolled out chip-enabled credit cards by replacing lost, stolen or expired cards with chip-enabled cards and by adding chips to new card accounts. However, merchants have been much slower to swap out their payment systems with terminals that accept chip-enabled cards. According to the Payments Security Task Force, fewer than half of all merchants in the U.S. are expected to meet the deadline and accept chip-enabled cards by the end of 2015.'s Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 14.92% 14.92%
Low interest 11.62%
11.62% 10.37%
Cash back 15.26%
Balance transfer 14.04%
Business 12.85%
Student 13.14%
Airline 15.10%
Reward  15.04%
Instant approval 17.93%
Bad credit 22.73%
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.)
Updated: May 06, 2015

See related: With economy slacking, Fed leaves interest rates along for now, Poll: Rewards cards take larger share of market

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Updated: 03-21-2019