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Rate survey: Average card APR holds steady at 17.73 percent

Summary

The average APR on new credit card offers didn’t budge this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.  

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The average APR on new credit card didn’t budge this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. The national average annual percentage rate (APR) remained at a record high of 17.73 percent for the third consecutive week.

Every week, CreditCards.com evaluates the APRs, annual fees and promotional terms of 100 U.S. credit cards. None of the cards monitored by CreditCards.com advertised new interest rates. Promotional APRs, such as 0 percent balance transfer offers, also remained unchanged.

See related:  Historic credit card interest rates chart

Card rates remain at record highs

The average credit card interest rate is currently at its highest point in more than 10 years. When CreditCards.com began tracking average APRs on new credit card offers in mid-2007, the national average credit card APR registered at just 13.15 percent. In April 2008, it clocked in at a record low of 11.11 percent – more than six and a half percentage points below where it is now.

Brand-new cards aren’t the only ones experiencing a dramatic rise in interest rates. According to the Federal Reserve, interest rates on consumers’ existing credit cards – including cards that consumers have owned for years – have also climbed significantly thanks to the Federal Reserve’s ongoing rate increases.

When the Federal Reserve increases its benchmark interest rate, the federal funds rate, most variable rate cards increase rates by the same amount. As a result, the average APR on cards owned by U.S. consumers is currently 15.09 percent, per the Fed’s latest G.19 consumer credit report – up from 11.87 percent in 2014.

Average APRs are even higher on cards that have a balance on them. Among the cards that have been recently charged interest, the average APR is currently 16.91 percent – up from 13.19 percent in 2014.

Interest rates are unlikely to decline significantly any time soon. The national average APR for new card offers – which only measures a new card’s lowest available interest rate – hasn’t fallen below 15 percent since December 2015. Meanwhile, the national average APR hasn’t declined once in almost nine months. During that same period, it has increased on a week-over-week basis 21 times, ultimately increasing by nearly a full percentage point between September 2018 and May 2019.

Maximum APRs are also increasing as a growing number of credit cards push their top-end interest rates to record highs. Nearly all of the credit cards included in the weekly rate report advertise a wide range of potential APRs, including maximum APRs that are typically well above 20 to 25 percent.

Among the 100 cards included in the weekly rate report, the average maximum credit card APR is currently 24.99 percent. Meanwhile, the average median card APR – which is closer to what many new cardholders are being charged – is currently 21.36 percent.

See related:  Guide to rising credit card interest rates

Consumers tighten card use amid rising APRs  

The higher rates on new and existing credit cards are causing many U.S. cardholders to pay significantly more to carry a balance. New research by CNBC and Morning Consult shows more than half of U.S. consumers – 55 percent – admit to having credit card debt.

Meanwhile, research by the American Bankers Association has found nearly half of consumers with a bank-issued credit card – 44.4 percent – carry a balance from month to month, causing them to pay interest on their credit cards.

According to CNBC and Morning Consult, many consumers carry less than $500 on their credit cards. However, around 1 in 10 consumers carry more than $5,000 worth of credit card debt, researchers found.

The higher APRs on new and existing credit cards may be inspiring some cardholders to be stricter about how much debt they allow on their cards. New York Fed data show aggregate credit card balances have fallen in recent months, indicating that consumers are either paying down their balances more aggressively or are charging less to their credit cards.

Aggregate balances fell by $22 billion in the first quarter of 2019. U.S. consumers currently owe roughly $848 billion to their credit card companies.

CreditCards.com’s Weekly Rate Report

Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average17.73%17.73%17.14%
Low interest14.73%14.73%14.23%
Cash back17.60%17.60%17.21%
Balance transfer16.94%16.94%16.32%
Business15.61%15.61%14.78%
Student17.79%17.79%17.20%
Airline17.50%17.50%17.12%
Rewards17.62%17.62%17.13%
Instant approval20.24%20.24%19.83%
Bad credit25.33%25.33%24.34%
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: May 22, 2019

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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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