Rate Report

Rate survey: Average card rate climbs to record high of 16.96 percent


July 18, 2018: The average credit card interest rate settled at a record high Wednesday after another major issuer increased rates in response to the Federal Reserve’s June 2018 rate change

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers; and please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

The average credit card interest rate settled at a record high Wednesday after another major issuer increased APRs by a quarter of a percent.

Just over a month after the Federal Reserve increased its benchmark interest rate, Chase matched the Fed’s rate change on its cards.

Chase’s across-the-board rate hikes helped push the national average APR to an all-time high of 16.96 percent, according to’s Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

For this week’s rate report, reviewed the APRs, promotional terms and annual fees of 100 U.S. credit cards.

Chase is one of the last major issuers to match the Fed’s June 2018 rate hike. Over the past month, American Express, Citi, Bank of America, Discover, Capital One, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, USAA and Barclaycard have all increased APRs by 0.25 percent.

The regional bank TD Bank increased rates by a quarter of a percent this week as well. It joined several other smaller banks that have also hiked rates in recent weeks, including PNC, Regions, SunTrust, Key Bank, Comerica and Huntington.

Issuers reluctant to freeze or cut rates

The ongoing rate hikes have made borrowing significantly more expensive for credit card holders – particularly for those who can only afford to pay the minimum amount due. A 1-point rate increase, for example, could cause a borrower who owes $5,000 on a card with a 17 percent APR to pay more than $400 in additional interest over time.

As average rates continue to break records, some borrowers may wonder if issuers will eventually cut rates or, at the very least, refrain from increasing them further. But so far, most issuers appear to have no plans to decrease rates or freeze them.

Although issuers aren’t required to increase rates when the Fed does, most issuers have responded to the rate hikes by matching every rate change. As a result, credit card APRs have climbed sharply in recent years after staying within rounding distance of 15 percent for more than five years.

In 2013, for example, the national average APR stood at 14.96 percent, according to data. Two years later, it had hardly budged, clocking in at 15 percent.

It wasn’t until late 2015, when the Fed began hiking rates after a years-long pause, that interest rates began to climb. Since then, the average card APR has swung from 14.99 percent in December 2015 to nearly 17 percent today.

Some analysts have predicted that as interest rates rise on the majority of U.S. cards, a handful of lenders will begin cutting rates to set themselves apart. But so far, that mostly hasn’t come to pass. For example, nearly all the cards monitored by have largely left rates alone, except when matching the Fed’s rate increases.

One issuer, Navy Federal Credit Union, said it cut rates on select cards in July 2017 after it saw other issuers increasing rates in tandem with the Federal Reserve. But no other issuers tracked by have made a similar gamble. As a result, the national average APR for new card offers hasn’t declined once since January 1.

Fed chairman: Rates are highly like to keep rising

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell confirmed to Congress on July 17 that the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) plans to keep increasing the federal funds rate.

“With a strong job market, inflation close to our objective and the risks to the outlook roughly balanced, the FOMC believes that – for now – the best way forward is to keep gradually raising the federal funds rate,” said Powell in testimony before Congress.

The Fed could change course if the economy starts to falter. It first cut rates to near zero in 2008 to help stimulate the economy and encourage people to borrow. As the economy has strengthened, the Fed has slowly increased interest rates.

“It is difficult to predict the ultimate outcome of current discussions over trade policy as well as the size and timing of the economic effects of the recent changes in fiscal policy,” Powell said in his testimony. But, “overall, we see the risk of the economy unexpectedly weakening as roughly balanced with the possibility of the economy growing faster than we currently anticipate.”

What that means for consumers: Interest rates on credit cards and other variable rate loans will almost certainly keep going up, forcing borrowers to pay much more than they used to pay to carry a credit card balance.

See related:  Historical credit card rates, 2007-2018’s Weekly Rate Report

Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average16.96%16.93%16.35%
Low interest13.85%13.83%13.09%
Cash back17.19%17.15%16.59%
Balance transfer16.21%16.17%15.59%
Instant approval19.22%19.20%18.76%
Bad credit23.90%23.90%23.59%
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: July 18, 2018

What’s up next?

In Rate Report

Rate survey: Average card rate jumps to 16.93 percent

July 11, 2018: The average credit card interest rate inched higher this week after several cards adjusted APRs.

Published: July 11, 2018

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: September 18th, 2019
Cash Back

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.