Rate survey: Average card APR stuck at 15.18 percent

The average APR on new card offers stayed at 15.18 percent Wednesday for the sixth consecutive week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

Most card issuers left credit card offers alone this week.

Wells Fargo trimmed the promotional offers on two of its rewards cards. The Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa and the Wells Fargo Rewards card now offer an interest-free balance transfer and 0 percent APR on purchases for just 12 months. Previously, cardholders were given up to 15 months before they were required to pay interest.

All other cards included in the CreditCards.com left interest rates and promotional offers alone this week.

Interest rates on new credit card offers are currently at record highs. The average APR for the year has settled at 15.18 percent – the highest yearly average recorded since CreditCards.com began tracking rates in mid-2007.

Perks expand, but mobile payment growth remains muted
Mobile payment companies are expanding services and issuing new promotions to lure consumers into using their phones for payment.

Samsung, for example, announced Nov. 14 that it’s launching its own rewards program for Samsung Pay users. When Samsung owners use the app to make a payment instead of directly with a card, they’ll receive up to 4 rewards points on every purchase – in addition to the miles, points or cash back linked to the card in the user’s Samsung Pay account.

The number of Samsung points consumers earn will depend, in part, on how often they use their phones to make payments. For example, consumers who make at least five payments per month with the Samsung app will receive 2 points for every dollar spent, while consumers who make at least 30 smartphone payments will receive 4 points for every dollar spent. The points can be redeemed for gift cards, Samsung products and at participating retailers.

Apple also announced Nov. 14 that it updated Apple Pay so users can more easily use their phones to make charitable donations without having to fill out long registration forms or enter card details. Apple said a number of major nonprofits have already signed up or are getting ready to sign up for the service over the coming months, including the American Red Cross, The Nature Conservancy, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, American Cancer Society, the Public Broadcasting Service and United Way.

“Websites and apps tell us they see twice as many people actually completing a purchase with Apple Pay than with other payment methods,” said Apple’s Jennifer Bailey in a news release. “We think offering such a simple and secure way to support the incredible work nonprofits do will have a significant impact on the communities they serve.”

Card companies have also introduced promotions designed to get cardholders to use their phones for payment. For example, Wells Fargo briefly offered a promotion tied to its new Cash Wise card that offered up to 1.8 percent cash back when cardholders used Apple Pay or Android Pay to make a payment.

Despite the growing number of mobile-centric promotions, many consumers remain reluctant to use their phones as their primary form of payment. According to an October 2016 report from Accenture, for example, just 19 percent of smartphone users in the United States and Canada regularly use their phones at checkout.  

“We are seeing a gradual increase in consumer awareness of mobile phone payments options; however, adoption has remained flat over the past few years,” said Accenture’s Robert Flynn in a news release. “Consumers are content to use cash and plastic for their everyday transactions, and while the use of cash is declining overall, it is the most commonly used form of payment – and consumers expect it to remain so in 2020.”

CreditCards.com’s Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 15.18% 15.18%
Low interest 12.00%
12.00% 11.96%
Cash back 15.33%
Balance transfer 14.41%
Business 13.12%
Student 13.42%
Airline 15.13%
Reward  15.24%
Instant approval 17.86%
Bad credit 22.86%
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. 16, 2016

See related: 13 ways to make sure your identity is stolen, How Trump’s election win may affect credit, consumers

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Updated: 03-19-2019