Survey: Average card APR remains unchanged at 15.19 percent


May 11, 2016: Average rates on new credit card offers stayed put this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

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Average rates on new credit card offers stayed put this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

None of the cards tracked by advertised new interest rates. As a result, the national average annual percentage rate (APR) remained at 15.19 percent for the fourth consecutive week.

Most card issuers left promotional APRs, such as 0 percent balance transfer offers and 0 percent purchase rates, unchanged as well.

American Express sweetened the promotional offer on the American Express EveryDay card after trimming the promotional offer’s interest-free period earlier this year. Cardholders now have 15 months to take advantage of a 0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers. Previously, cardholders had just 12 months.

Interest rates on new card offers are currently near record highs. The last time interest rates stretched above 15.19 percent was in December 2011.

Card-not-present fraud projected to rise
As more retailers transition to accepting EMV-enabled payments to help prevent card-present fraud, experts are predicting a sharp uptick in other types of fraud, including card-not-present fraud and account takeover fraud.

Card-not-present fraud occurs when a thief steals a customer’s credit card details and uses them to pay for goods and services online, over the phone or through the mail. Account takeovers occur when fraudsters illegally access customers’ credit card and bank accounts and use the accounts to make fraudulent payments.

According to a joint study from the payment security company iovation and advisory firm Aite Group, annual losses from card-not-present fraud are projected to expand to more than $7 billion by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, experts predict that losses from account takeover fraud – which has already increased significantly since 2013 – will nearly double to more than $1 billion a year.

Other types of fraud – such as fraudulent card applications – are also expected to increase.

Experts say the widespread adoption of chip-enabled cards will be the primary reason why these types of scams become more popular with fraudsters. As more retailers make it harder for thieves to steal merchandise using fake credit cards, fraudsters will look for new ways to steal merchandise and services.

Experts also predict that counterfeit card fraud will temporarily spike as fraudsters try to use the fake cards they’ve already made before a larger number of retailers stop using magnetic stripes.

“In other countries that preceded the U.S. in widespread EMV adoption, there was a big increase in counterfeit fraud activity during the time period where people transitioned from stripe to chip cards,” said iovation’s Michael Thelander in a May 6 news release. “We are seeing that exact scenario play out in the U.S. as criminals realize their window for perpetrating counterfeit card fraud is rapidly closing, so they are working through their vast piles of compromised cards.”

Counterfeit fraud should decrease sharply once more retailers begin accepting EMV-enabled payments. Analysts at iovation and Aite Group predict that counterfeit fraud will shrink from an estimated $4.5 billion in 2016 to less than $1 billion by 2020.’s Weekly Rate Report
Avg. APRLast week 6 months ago
National average15.19%15.19%14.96%
Low interest11.96%11.96%11.62%
Cash back15.30%15.30%15.27%
Balance transfer14.39%14.39%14.07%
Instant approval18.04%18.04%18.00%
Bad credit22.56%22.56%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 11, 2016

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