Survey: Average card APR remains at 15.18% for eighth week

The average APR on new card offers held steady this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

For the eighth week in a row, the national average APR has remained fixed at 15.18 percent.

Interest rates on new credit card offers are currently near record highs and show few signs of dropping anytime soon. After increasing steadily earlier this year in response to the Federal Reserve’s December 2015 rate increase, minimum rates on new credit card offers have largely remained unchanged. Since March 1, for example, the national average has changed just three times. It has increased twice and fallen just once.

A number of card issuers have increased maximum interest rates on new card offers; but the increases aren’t reflected in the national average because only considers a card’s lowest available rate when calculating average interest rates.

In just the past month:

  • Barclays increased the maximum APR on the Carnival World MasterCard by 3 percentage points.
  • Chase increased the maximum rate on the IHG Rewards Club Select MasterCard by 7 percentage points
  • Huntington Bank increased the maximum rate on the Huntington Voice Rewards card by 2 percentage points.

Barclays has also floated higher maximum rates on other Barclaycards, such as the Wyndham Rewards Visa credit card, but not all applicants are being offered the wider range.

Cards are becoming easier to get
The recent uptick in maximum APRs indicates that some banks are expanding the pool of applicants they approve for a new card. Rather than offer everyone the same rate, banks are accommodating less creditworthy applicants by advertising a wide range of potential APRs.  

The extra wide ranges have made it impossible for new applicants to assess what interest rate they’ll get after they apply, but it’s also made it easier for banks to approve a larger number of cardholders.

According to new research released earlier this month by the Federal Reserve, a number of banks have eased credit standards and are making it easier for consumers to get approved for a new card.

The Federal Reserve surveyed senior loan officers from 71 domestic banks and 23 foreign banks operating in the United States and found that credit cards with larger credit limits are gradually becoming easier to get.  

For example, four major banks reported easing standards on new credit card applications. Three banks said the bank eased standards “somewhat.” One major bank said it eased standards “considerably.” Three large banks also reported lowering the cutoff for applicant credit scores, making it more likely that consumers with lower scores would get approved.

Three banks also reported offering larger credit limits, according to the Fed, giving consumers more room to make big charges. However, two banks said they trimmed credit limits somewhat.

The Federal Reserve’s latest findings reinforce previous Federal Reserve research that showed that revolving credit is becoming increasingly easy to get. 

In June 2016, for example, the New York Federal Reserve reported that rejection rates on new cards have fallen considerably since the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, application rates have spiked. Card issuers are also more likely nowadays to approve a credit limit increase.'s Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 15.18% 15.18%
Low interest 11.98%
11.98% 11.96%
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.)
Updated: Aug. 3, 2016

See related: Despite good credit, I got sock with a high APR card, CFPB lists our biggest complaints with credit cards

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Updated: 03-21-2019