Rate survey: Average card APR remains at record high of 16.75 percent

Kelly Dilworth
Personal finance writer
Specializing in new trends in credit

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For the second week in a row, the national average APR clocked in at a record high of 16.75 percent – nearly a full percentage point above where it stood last year.

CreditCards.com reviewed the APRs, annual fees and promotional terms of 100 U.S. credit cards. Nearly all of the cards included in the weekly rate report left interest rates alone this week. 

Capital One trimmed the APRs on three of its cards for consumers with average credit: The QuicksilverOne® card, the Platinum card and the Journey® Student Rewards credit card. Cardholders with average credit who apply for a card, such as the Platinum card or the QuicksilverOne card, are now charged an APR of 24.74 percent – down from a previous APR of 24.99 percent.

The changes to the Capital One cards were too small, though, to affect the national average.

Capital One has also been testing a number of lower rate offers on its website in recent weeks. For example, some website visitors who click on a card for average credit are offered a flat APR of 24.74 percent. Others are offered a range, starting at 19.73 percent and maxing out at 26.73 percent. Card issuers occasionally float alternative test offers on their websites before making longer-term changes.

Consumers are charging more donations to their credit cards

Donating money through a credit card continues to be a popular way to give back. According to new research from the card network Mastercard, the percentage of people turning to a credit or debit card to donate money has grown steadily in recent years.

In 2017, the card network processed 4.4 percent more payments than it did the year before. In 2015 and in 2016, donations-via-card grew even more sharply, climbing by 7.8 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively.

The number of people authorizing recurring donations on their credit or debit cards has also grown. For example, Mastercard recorded 7.5 percent more recurring payments to charities and nonprofits in 2017. In 2016, recurring donations grew by 6.1 percent. In 2015, it climbed by 5.4 percent. “Loyalty to causes is on the rise,” said Mastercard in a report about its findings.

Consumers are also donating more to disaster relief as the number of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, historic floods and wildfires, continues to increase. In addition, consumers continue to give generously to causes that are important to them personally. For example, among all the credit and debit donations that Mastercard recorded in 2017:

  • 12.6 percent of donations went to the arts.
  • 14 percent of donations were earmarked for education.
  • 10.5 percent of donations were for the environment.
  • 6.8 percent were for health-related campaigns, such as cancer research.

People are especially generous when they donate online. According to Mastercard, the average online card donation was $94.75 in 2017.

However, in person, people are a bit more conservative with the amount they give – at least when they’re using a credit or debit card. The average in-person donation was $47.53 last year, Mastercard said.   

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report

  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 16.75% 16.75%
Low interest 13.63%
13.63% 12.87%
Cash back 16.99%
Balance transfer 15.98%
Business 14.34%
Student 16.23%
Airline 16.66%
Rewards 16.81%
Instant approval 19.05%
Bad credit 23.74%
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: June 13, 2018

See related: Fed: Card balances rose by $2.2 billion in April, Historical credit card rates, 2007-2018


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Updated: 03-25-2019