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Rate survey: Average card APR breaks new record, climbing to 17.80 percent

Summary

The average APR on new credit card offers smashed another record Wednesday, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

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The average APR on new credit card offers smashed another record Wednesday, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. The national average APR climbed to 17.80 percent, which is the highest weekly average CreditCards.com has recorded since it began tracking rates more than 10 years ago.

Average rates are now almost a full percentage point higher than they were last July when the national average APR stood at 16.96 percent. They have climbed at an especially fast clip over the past three years as card issuers respond to rate changes from the Fed and independently hike interest rates. Three years ago, for example, the average card APR stood at 15.18 percent. Five years ago, it just barely topped 15 percent.

Some consumers are being assigned even higher interest rates when they apply for a new credit card. CreditCards.com only considers a card’s lowest possible interest rate when calculating the national average.

However, most general credit cards advertise a wide range of potential APRs, including maximum rates that are often more than 7 to 10 points higher than the card’s minimum rate. As a result, the average maximum card APR currently stands at 25.16 percent. Meanwhile, the average median card APR – which is closer to what many cardholders are being charged – registers at 21.48 percent.

See related:  Historic credit card interest rates chart

Wells Fargo hikes APR on its low interest credit card

Every week, CreditCards.com evaluates the APRs, annual fees and promotional offers of 100 U.S. credit cards. Most cards monitored by CreditCards.com were left unchanged this week.

However, Wells Fargo made a dramatic change to the APR on its plain vanilla credit card, the Wells Fargo Platinum card. It increased the card’s lowest available APR by four percentage points, causing the national average APR to increase.

Previously, cardholders with the best credit scores were offered an APR as low as 13.74 percent. Now, the best cardholders will be able to do is secure an APR of 17.74 percent. Wells Fargo left the Platinum card’s maximum APR unchanged at 27.24 percent.

The Wells Fargo Visa Signature credit card and the Wells Fargo Cash Back College Visa card are now the only Wells Fargo cards left that still charge APRs below 16 percent. The Visa Signature card charges a 14.74 percent minimum APR, while the Cash Back College card charges a minimum APR of 13.40 percent.

Wells Fargo’s decision to hike the APR on the Wells Fargo Visa Platinum card has also left consumers looking for a low rate credit card even fewer options to choose from. Among the 100 cards included in the weekly rate report:

  • Just 20 advertise an APR below 15 percent.
  • Six of the cards that charge an APR below 15 percent are business credit cards.
  • Four are credit union cards.
  • Seven are from small or regional banks with restricted membership.
  • Only four are general market cards from a major nationwide bank.

Credit cards that charge APRs below 14 percent are even rarer nowadays. Among the 100 cards included in the weekly rate report, for example, just 10 advertise a minimum APR below 14 percent.

See related:  First interest rate cut since CARD Act appears imminent

CreditCards.com’s Weekly Rate Report

Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average17.80%17.76%17.51%
Low interest14.74%14.72%14.53%
Cash back17.68%17.68%17.62%
Balance transfer15.68%15.59%16.70%
Business15.61%15.61%15.09%
Student17.79%17.79%17.79%
Airline17.59%17.59%17.39%
Rewards17.58%17.58%17.47%
Instant approval20.24%20.24%19.99%
Bad credit25.33%25.33%24.96%
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: July 24, 2019

What’s up next?

In Rate Report

Rate survey: Average card APR remains at record high of 17.76 percent for fourth week

The average APR on new credit card offers held still Wednesday, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

Published: July 17, 2019

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: October 16th, 2019
Business
15.18%
Airline
17.11%
Cash Back
17.25%
Reward
17.13%
Student
17.29%

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