Average card APR remains at 15.18 percent for eighth week

Kelly Dilworth
Personal finance writer
Specializing in new trends in credit

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The average APR on new card offers didn’t budge Wednesday, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

For the eighth week in a row, the national average APR remained at 15.18 percent.

None of the cards included in the weekly rate report advertised new interest rates. Promotional rates also stayed the same.

Card issuers have been reluctant to alter rates for most of 2016. After the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percent in December 2015, most cards in the database hiked APRs by the same amount. Since then, issuers have mostly left card APRs unchanged. As a result, 2016 is on track to be one of the most stable years on record for credit card interest rates. So far, the average APR has remained unchanged 37 weeks out of the year.

Card issuers gear up for heavy holiday spending
As the holiday shopping season heats up, credit card issuers are adding a bevy of incentives to lure new cardholders and encourage customers to use their cards for holiday travel and shopping.

American Express, for example, recently began offering extra points and cash back for shopping at designated local businesses. It’s also offering two free Uber rides over the holidays from major U.S. airports such as LaGuardia Airport in New York City, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, cash back cards such as the Chase Freedom card and the Discover it Cash Rewards card are offering extra large bonuses for shopping at holiday favorites, such as wholesale clubs and department stores.

Retail experts predict holiday shopping will be strong this year, thanks in part to a steadily growing economy and somewhat higher incomes. First Data’s analysis of Black Thanksgiving and Black Friday transactions found that overall sales growth was 9 percent higher than 2015. That bodes well for retailers – the National Retail Federation predicted in October that holiday shopping sales will likely increase by 3.6 percent in 2016.

Already, consumers are showing an increased willingness to open their wallets this year for the busiest shopping season of the year. According to research released Nov. 30 by the Commerce Department, for example, consumer spending jumped by more than half a percentage point – 0.6 percent – in October, despite an October 2016 survey showing that the 2016 presidential election negatively affected consumers’ willingness to spend.

A spike in online shopping is contributing to the strong retail season. According to Adobe Digital Insights, consumers spent $3.39 billion online on Cyber Monday -- up by more than 10 percent from 2015.

“Cyber Monday is on track to be the biggest online shopping day ever, surpassing our forecast by almost $27 million or 0.8 percent,” said Adobe’s Tamara Gaffney in a statement. “This indicates that consumers still had more appetite for online shopping, despite the incredible volume of online sales on Black Friday.” 

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. 30, 2016

See related: Discounted Uber and Lyft rides: Your card can be your ticket

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Updated: 03-23-2019