Rate survey: Average card APR remains at 16.15 percent for seventh week

Kelly Dilworth
Personal Finance Writer
Specializing in new trends in credit

 

Interest rates on new credit card offers held steady Wednesday, according to CreditCards.com’s Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

For the seventh week in a row, the national average APR stayed put at 16.15 percent. None of the cards included in the weekly rate report advertised new interest rates. Most cards also left promotional terms unchanged.

Citi eliminated the interest-free promotion on one of its airline credit cards, the Citi/AAdvantage Gold World Elite Mastercard. New cardholders used to get 15 months of interest-free purchases and balance transfers. Now, cardholders must pay a standard APR of 16.99 percent to 24.99 percent.

Among the 100 cards included in the weekly rate report, just 16 cards offer interest-free promotions for 15 months or more. An additional 17 credit cards offer 0 percent promotions lasting for 12 to 14 months.

Credit lines shrink for consumers with average credit
Consumers are spending more on credit and opening more cards, according to new research from the American Bankers Association (ABA). However, cardholders with lower credit scores may be having a harder time getting approved for cards with larger credit lines.

Banks opened slightly more cards in the second quarter of 2017 than they did the previous year, the ABA found. But banks aren’t increasing the number of applications they approve nearly as quickly.

New card openings for consumers with poor to average credit slowed considerably this year, the association reported in its latest Credit Card Market Monitor. Between 2014 and 2016, by contrast, banks accelerated the number of card applications they approved as they became more lenient with the types of cardholders they approved.

“While the credit card market continues to expand, issuers appear to be tapping the brakes on new account creation for prime and subprime borrowers,” ABA’s Jess Sharp said in a news release.

The ABA found consumers with prime and subprime credit scores opened new cards at their most sluggish pace in three years.  

Banks also clipped the amount of credit they approved, causing average credit lines for consumers with subpar credit to shrink.

The average credit limit for a new prime card account, for example, slipped 0.2 percent this year to $5,625. Meanwhile, the average credit limit for a subprime card account fell 1.1 percent to $2,547.

Consumers with older accounts also aren’t having as much luck increasing their credit limits. The average credit limit for prime cardholders with a current account declined 0.3 percent to $7,301, while the average limit for subprime cardholders dipped 0.2 percent to $3,607.

Cardholders with excellent credit, by contrast, were much more successful securing a generous credit limit. The average credit line for new super-prime credit cards jumped by 1 percent to $10,400. Meanwhile, the typical credit limit for current super-prime card accounts grew 0.3 percent to $11,468.

Despite the more conservative credit limits for consumers with lower scores, the ABA says the credit card market is still relatively healthy. 

“Recent growth in the credit card market mirrors improvements in the overall economy,” Sharp said. “Consumer confidence is elevated, unemployment is at a 16-year low, and wages are rising – all positive signs for consumer financial health. Consumers remain well-positioned to manage their credit card accounts and build credit.”

CreditCards.com’s Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 16.15% 16.15%
15.74%
Low interest 12.89%
12.89% 12.59%
Cash back 16.40%
16.40%
15.79%
Balance transfer 15.38%
15.38%
15.02%
Business 13.68%
13.68%
13.66%
Student 15.70%
15.70%
13.92%
Airline 16.07%
16.07%
15.77%
Reward  16.24%
16.24%
15.83%
Instant approval 18.60%
18.60%
18.25%
Bad credit 23.46%
23.46%
23.20%
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: Nov. 1, 2017

See related: Pros, cons of using credit cards for everyday purchases


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Updated: 11-20-2017