Rate survey: Average card APR holds steady at 16.15 percent

Kelly Dilworth
Personal finance writer
Specializing in new trends in credit


Interest rates on new credit card offers remained unchanged this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

None of the cards included in CreditCards.com’s database imposed new rates. As a result, the national average APR remained at 16.15 percent for the third straight week.

One card included in the database, the Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature card* from Barclays, reintroduced a six-month interest-free promotion on Wyndham time-share purchases. All other cards tracked by CreditCards.com left promotional terms unchanged.

The national average APR is currently at its highest point since CreditCards.com began tracking rates in mid-2007. Over the past 12 months, the average APR has climbed from 15.22 percent in October 2016 – which was then a near record high – to 16.15 percent today. Before 2017, average rates largely stayed within close rounding distance of 15 percent for six consecutive years.

Nontraditional payments becoming more popular  
Most online shoppers still use old-fashioned plastic credit cards when paying for goods or services online. But according to a new report by the United Nations’ technology and logistics division, alternative payment methods – including digital wallets such as PayPal and mobile payments – are poised to become more popular.

The United Nations predicts that by 2019, just 46 percent of online spending will be paid for with a traditional credit card – down from more than 50 percent in 2014.

Alternative payment methods are especially popular for international transactions, the intergovernmental organization said.

A 2016 International Post Corporation survey cited by the United Nations, for example, found that a plurality of global shoppers purchasing goods from another country – 41 percent – preferred to use a digital payment method such as PayPal, rather than a credit card or other payment method. Meanwhile, 33 percent preferred credit cards, while just 18 percent relied on debit cards or wire transfers.

Additional research has also found alternative payment methods are gaining in popularity around the globe. According to a September 2017 survey by the electronic payments company ACI Worldwide, for example, the percentage of U.S. consumers who regularly use mobile payments to pay for goods and services has nearly tripled since 2014. Three years ago, just 6 percent of consumers said they regularly reached for their smartphones to make purchases. In 2017, 17 percent of consumers said the same.

Consumers in the U.S. and Europe have been much slower to adopt mobile payments than consumers in other regions around the globe, such as Southern Asia. For example, 56 percent of consumers in India regularly use their phones for payments.

But analysts expect that mobile payments will soon become much more popular in the U.S. and elsewhere, thanks in part to wider store acceptance. “With the EMV rollout behind us, most stores are NFC-enabled and the acceptance of mobile wallets is now almost guaranteed by most larger retailers and even many smaller ones,” said ACI’s Mark Ranta in a news release.

More people also own phones that are equipped for mobile payments, said Ranta, making it more likely that they’ll embrace nontraditional payments. “What we are seeing is a tipping point regarding adoption, which can be attributed to consumers worldwide now almost exclusively using payment-enabled devices,” he noted in the release.  

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 16.15% 16.15%
Low interest 12.89%
12.89% 12.47%
Cash back 16.40%
Balance transfer 15.38%
Business 13.68%
Student 15.70%
Airline 16.07%
Reward  16.24%
Instant approval 18.60%
Bad credit 23.46%
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: Oct. 4, 2017

*The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers.

See related: Historic credit card rates chart, Mobile wallet providers roll out rewards, Millennials' credit card usage lags Gen-Xers as young adults


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Updated: 02-15-2019