Rate survey: Average card rate remains at 16.92 percent for third week

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 held steady Wednesday, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. 

None of the cards monitored by CreditCards.com advertised new interest rates. As a result, the national average APR remained fixed at 16.92 percent. 

Most credit cards tracked by CreditCards.com also left promotional terms alone. 

Every week, CreditCards.com checks the APRs, annual fees and promotional terms of 100 U.S. credit cards. 

This week, the only card in our database that advertised new terms was the Navy Federal Credit Union Cash Rewards card. Navy Federal left the cash back card’s minimum interest rate of 11.40 percent unchanged. But it added a 6-month interest-free balance transfer promotion – a perk that was previously only available on the credit union’s low interest card, the Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum card.

Platinum cardholders are still awarded a stronger promotion, though: In addition to a lower standard rate, they get 12 months to carry a transferred balance interest-free. 

See related: Historic credit card interest rates chart 

More people are using cards – but some still prefer cash for certain purchases

As rewards programs and other promotions continue to get more enticing, a growing number of consumers are relying on credit and debit cards for all or most of their purchases. But consumers still prefer to use cash for at least some of their everyday errands, new research shows. 

According to a survey released Sept. 18 by the polling firm Rasmussen, roughly half of consumers regularly use cash for at least some or all of their purchases. More than half of consumers polled by Rasmussen in early September said they had used cash at least once in the past week. 

Forty-eight percent, by contrast, said they had gone all week without using any cash – down from 53 percent in 2015. 

Meanwhile, 43 percent said they had never once gone a full week without using cash to pay for at least some of their purchases – a sign of cash’s staying power. Some futurists have predicted that consumers will one day prefer to be cashless altogether – particularly as cards and mobile payments become more convenient. But a stubborn number of consumers still like to keep coins and bills on hand, just in cash. 

The survey’s findings support previous research that cash continues to be a popular form of payment, despite cards and mobile payments’ growing popularity. 

Only a small minority of people still use cash for all purchases, but the percentage who prefer cash instead of cards or other forms of payment has inched up in recent years. According to a 2017 study by the payment company TSYS, for example, 12 percent of consumers cited cash as their “most preferred payment type” – up from 9 percent in 2014. 

Rather than rely on just one payment type, most consumers like to use a variety of payment methods, depending on what they’re buying. For example, a CreditCards.com survey released this week found that some consumers like to use cash for smaller payments and cards for bigger ticket purchases. The poll found that nearly half of consumers (45 percent) prefer to use cash for payments that cost less than $10, in part because, to many consumers, cash feels more convenient.

“Many people are still going to use cash because it’s so much simpler,” said financial planner Pam Horack in an interview with CreditCards.com. “You whip out a five, you get your change and you’re good to go.” 

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. 19, 2018

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Updated: 02-19-2019