The average APR on new credit card offers dipped Wednesday for the first time in nine months, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
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The average APR on new credit card offers dipped Wednesday for the first time in nine months, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. The national average APR declined to 17.72 percent after remaining at a record high of 17.73 percent for three consecutive weeks.
This is not only the first time since August that the national average APR has fallen. It is also just the third time in two years that CreditCards.com has recorded a decline in the weekly average. Since May 29, 2017, the weekly average has increased, week-over-week, 53 times and fallen just three times. During that same period, the average card APR expanded by nearly 2 percentage points. On May 29, 2017, for example, the average card APR stood at just 15.77 percent.
Unlike previous weeks, though, this week’s rate change wasn’t due to a rate change on a particular card. Instead, a low interest credit card that CreditCards.com included in the weekly average, the Barclaycard Ring World Mastercard, was taken offline by Barclays. As a result, CreditCards.com replaced the card with another plain vanilla credit card, the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card, which charges a slightly lower APR.
See related: Historic credit card interest rates chart
Low rate credit cards are now even harder to find
Barclays’ decision to take the Ring World Mastercard offline is significant – particularly for cardholders who are looking for a reliable low rate credit card.
Until this month, the Barclaycard Ring World Mastercard was one of the few plain vanilla cards still standing that charged an APR well below the national average. It was also one of the only credit cards from a major, nationwide issuer that advertised just a single APR, 14.24 percent, rather than a wide range of possible APRs.
As a result, consumers looking for a genuinely low rate credit card now have even fewer options to choose from. A dwindling number of low interest credit cards continue to advertise minimum APRs that are well below average.
However, among the widely available cards left standing, nearly all of them advertise maximum APRs that are as high or higher than what you’ll find on higher rate rewards card. For example, the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa card charges a minimum variable APR of 13.74 percent. However, it also charges a maximum variable APR of 27.24 percent, which is well above average for a general market credit card.
As a result, the average maximum card APR recorded by CreditCards.com actually increased this week after CreditCards.com replaced the Ring World Mastercard with the Wells Fargo Platinum Visa. The average maximum credit card APR now stands at 25.12 percent – up from a previous high of 24.99 percent.
CreditCards.com only considers a card’s lowest available interest rate when calculating average interest rates. However, most credit cards these days advertise a wide range of possible interest rates.
See related: Guide to rising credit card interest rates
Rates uncertain for balance transfer seekers
Other low interest credit cards that are currently on the market also advertise a wide range of possible APRs, making it tough for consumers who need to carry a balance to determine what rate they’ll actually get.
The BankAmericard credit card, for example, currently charges a minimum variable APR of 15.24 percent and a maximum variable APR of 25.24 percent. The U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card charges a minimum variable APR of 14.74 percent and a maximum variable APR of 25.74 percent. Meanwhile, the USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card charges a minimum variable APR of 9.15 percent and a maximum variable APR of 26.15 percent.
Consumers’ best option for carrying a balance these days is to instead choose a card with a lengthy 0 percent promotion. Many cards now offer interest-free periods running as long as 18 months or more, giving consumers with excellent credit at least a year and a half to pay down their credit card balances before the card’s standard rate kicks in.
Consumers who need to carry a balance for a longer period, though, may be out of luck. As credit card interest rates continue to sustain widespread rate increases, cards with genuinely low interest rates for all applicants, not just those with the very best scores, have become all but extinct.
CreditCards.com’s Weekly Rate Report
|Avg. APR||Last week||6 months ago|
|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 29, 2019|