Rate survey: Average card rate stays put at 16.92 percent

Kelly Dilworth
Personal finance writer
Specializing in new trends in credit

CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report

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The average credit card interest rate didn’t budge Wednesday, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. For the second week in a row, the national average APR registered at 16.92 percent.

CreditCards.com evaluated the APRs, annual fees and promotional terms of 100 U.S. credit cards. None of the cards included in the weekly rate report advertised new interest rates. 

Most credit card lenders also left promotional terms, such as short-term 0 percent APRs, alone this week. However, one issuer, American Express, added an interest-free balance transfer offer to one of its business cards, the Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express

Business owners who apply for the Blue Business Plus card may be able to secure an interest-free balance transfer offer for up to 15 months – an unusually generous offer for a business card. 

Unlike consumer cards, business credit cards rarely offer such a long balance transfer period. Usually, the few business cards that offer any kind of 0 percent balance transfer deal at all cap promotional periods at 12 months or less. 

For example, among the cards included in the weekly rate report, Chase’s Ink Business Cash Credit Card and the U.S. Bank Business Edge Platinum card give cardholders up to a year to carry a transferred balance interest-free. The PNC Points Visa Business card gives cardholders just nine months.

Many business cards instead advertise an interest-free promotional offer on new purchases; but they don’t offer a 0 percent balance transfer. 

Not everyone who applies for the Blue Business Plus card will be offered a 15-month promotion, though. Some web visitors are still being shown offers that include a 15-month interest-free promotion on purchases, but not on balance transfers. 

AmEx plumps its business card offers

American Express also sweetened the sign-up bonus on the Blue Business Plus card. Until September 26, new applicants who spend $3,000 within three months of opening their cards will get 10,000 extra points added to their rewards balance. 

American Express also increased the bonus offers on its entire line of Hilton cards, including the Hilton Honors American Express Business card. 

New business cardholders who are in the market for a hotel card could receive a bonus offer as high as 125,000 points – up from 100,000 bonus points. Cardholders only have to spend $3,000 to get the bonus offer, too. Earlier this summer, American Express offered 125,000 bonus points to new business cardholders, but applicants had to be prepared to spend $5,000 to receive it.  

See related: Historic credit card interest rates chart 

Business cardholders also get more choices

Business owners who are in the market for a new credit card are also enjoying more choices as lenders debut new business cards. The Hilton Honors American Express Business card, for example, just launched earlier this year. 

So did the new Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card from Chase. The no-annual-fee business card, which debuted in May, offers 1.5 percent cash back and awards an unusually large $500 sign-up bonus to cardholders who spend $3,000 within the card’s first three months. 

Meanwhile, Discover announced this week that it’s launching a similar no-annual-fee business card. The new Discover it Business card also gives cardholders 1.5 percent cash back on everything they spend. In addition, like other Discover cards, it matches 100 percent of cardholders’ earnings at the end of the first year – a potentially lucrative deal for cardholders who use their business cards for a majority of their charged expenses. 

The uptick in choices is good news for business cardholders who are showing increased interest in applying for new credit. According to a May 2018 survey of 578 small business owners by TD Bank, business owners’ interest in applying for more credit has surged in recent months. 

For example, nearly half of the business owners surveyed – 46 percent – showed interest in acquiring more credit. Some have already applied for additional credit, and others say they plan to apply within the next year. 

In 2017, by contrast, just 21 percent of small business owners had recently applied for new credit or planned to do so soon. 

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report

  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 16.92% 16.92%
Low interest 13.99%
13.99% 13.14%
Cash back 17.09%
Balance transfer 16.21%
Business 14.59%
Student 16.98%
Airline 16.93%
Rewards 16.92%
Instant approval 19.45%
Bad credit 24.18%
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: Sept. 12, 2018

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Updated: 02-19-2019