Rate survey: Average card APR remains stuck at 15.18 percent

The average APR on new card offers remained unchanged this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

For the seventh week in a row, the national average APR remained lodged at 15.18 percent.

Most issuers left rates unchanged this week. Barclaycard expanded the range of possible APRs on the Carnival World MasterCard. Applicants are now offered a 10-point range of possible rates, starting at 14.24 percent and maxing out at 24.24 percent.

As a result, the number of cards in the CreditCards.com database advertising APR ranges as wide as 10 percentage points or more rose to 34 cards.

Wide APR ranges have become much more common in recent years. Only 20 cards tracked by CreditCards.com advertise just one flat rate. The average APR range – the difference between a card’s lowest rate and its highest – is currently 7 percentage points.

EMV adoption continues to make slow progress
More than nine months after retailers were supposed to switch to EMV-enabled payments to avoid being on the hook for card-present fraud, many are still struggling to make the switch. According to research from Visa, just 28 percent of U.S. merchants currently accept EMV chip-enabled payments.

The total number of merchants accepting chip payments has more than doubled since October when the shift in liability from card networks to merchants who don’t accept EMV took place. Currently, around 1.3 million merchants have installed and turned on EMV card readers. Meanwhile, roughly 483 million chip card payments occurred in June – up from just 139 million in October. But retailers still have a long way to go before chip-enabled payments become more common.

Many retailers who have transitioned to EMV are concentrated on the East and West coasts and in some parts of the Rust Belt Midwest, according to Visa. Meanwhile, large states such as Texas, Utah and Oklahoma are trailing in chip adoption compared to other states. Fewer than 24 percent of merchants in Texas, for example, have migrated to chip payments. In California, by contrast, more than 30 percent of merchants have made the switch.

The slow adoption of EMV-enabled payments has led to sharp criticism from consumers and considerable confusion at the checkout lane. Many retailers have installed EMV-enabled card readers, but haven’t turned the systems on yet. Some retailers have put signs on their readers covering the slot for chip-enabled payments, but others have left it up to cashiers to inform consumers how to use their cards. As a result, consumers often have to guess whether or not to swipe their cards or their insert a chip into the card reader.

Retailers blame the credit card industry for the slow adoption and say they’re waiting for formal approval from card companies before their card readers can start accepting EMV chips. According to a July 2016 survey of retailers by the National Retail Federation, nearly half of respondents – 48 percent – said they’ve already installed chip-enabled terminals and are currently accepting EMV-enabled cards. However, 57 percent of retailers who aren’t yet accepting chip payments said that they’re currently waiting on card companies to formally “certify” their card readers so they can use them. Sixty percent of those respondents said they had been waiting for at least six months.

In June, both Visa and MasterCard said they would implement changes to help speed up the certification process so that more retailers can start accepting chip-enabled payments. 

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% 11.88%
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: July 27, 2016

See related: 8 FAQs about EMV credit cards, 7 merchant tips to understanding EMV fraud liability shift

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Updated: 03-21-2019