Rate survey: Average card APR remains unchanged at 15.18 percent

Interest rates on new credit card offers held still this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

None of the cards tracked by CreditCards.com advertised new rates. As a result, the national average annual percentage rate (APR) held steady at 15.18 percent. Card issuers also left promotional terms, such as 0-percent balance transfer rates, unchanged.

This is the 17th week this year that interest rates have remained unchanged. After increasing rates at the beginning of 2016, card issuers have mostly left card offers alone.

Average rates are currently near record highs, thanks in part to the Federal Reserve’s December 2015 rate increase. When the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark rate by a quarter of a percent, most card issuers increased rates by the same amount. Since then, the national average APR has remained above 15.10 percent.

Costco switches to Visa
After severing its partnership with American Express last year, the warehouse giant Costco began accepting only Visa credit cards in its stores on June 20. Previously, customers were only allowed to use a co-branded American Express credit card if they wanted to use credit. Otherwise, they had to use cash or debit. 

Now, Costco members may use any type of Visa card, including Citi's new Costco Anywhere Visa, at the wholesale store. 

American Express TrueEarnings cardholders should have already received the Citi-issued replacement card. Meanwhile, new customers can now apply for the Costco Anywhere card online, in stores or over the phone.

Banks are eager to inform their customers of the switch. Bank of America, for example, sent out an email to cardholders on June 22 saying they may now use their Bank of America Visa cards at Costco or at any other major wholesale club, such as Sam’s Club or BJ’s. It also announced that cash-back customers are now eligible for up to 2 percent cash back when they use their cards at wholesale clubs.

Meanwhile, Chase is capitalizing on Costco’s new card policy by extending the amount of time Chase Freedom Visa cardholders can earn 5 percent cash back at wholesale clubs. Previously, the card’s 5 percent promotion on wholesale club purchases was scheduled to expire June 30.  Multiple news outlets have reported that the Chase Freedom card promotion is now scheduled to last until the end of the year; however, the Chase Freedom card’s customer site only promises that the promotion will continue through September.

For more information about Costco's switch to Visa, visit CreditCards.com's answers to frequently asked reader questions.

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 15.18% 15.18%
Low interest 11.98%
11.98% 11.67%
Cash back 15.32%
Balance transfer 14.38%
Business 13.12%
Student 13.42%
Airline 15.08%
Reward  15.29%
Instant approval 18.04%
Bad credit 22.56%
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 22, 2016

See related: Details emerge on new Citi Costco card switch, Maximum fee rises to $38 for repeat late fees

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Updated: 04-19-2019