Survey: Average card APR jumps to all-time high of 15.44%

Kelly Dilworth
Personal Finance Writer
Specializing in new trends in credit

 

The national average APR on new credit card offers rose to another record high this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

For the third time this year, the national average APR set an all-time record for the highest national average CreditCards.com has recorded since it began tracking rates in mid-2007. This time, the average APR climbed to 15.44 percent after multiple card issuers adjusted APRs.

Credit One and Navy Federal Credit Union, for example, revised APRs to reflect the Federal Reserve’s December 2016 rate hike. The Fed increased its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percent. Since then, most issuers have adjusted rates by the same amount.

Citi also increased the APR on its secured credit card by 0.50 percent this week. Citi secured cardholders are now offered a single APR of 22.99 percent.

Card-not-present fraud nearly doubles
As more retailers use EMV-enabled card readers to combat fraudulent credit cards, thieves are increasingly going online to order merchandise using stolen card details.

According to a study released Feb.1 by Javelin Strategy and Research, card-not-present fraud surged by 40 percent in 2016 as fraudsters adapted to the new security measures by relying on credit card details to buy merchandise online or over the phone.

By installing EMV chip card readers to process new transactions, retailers made it significantly harder for fraudsters to use fake cards at a store. But despite the large increase in the number of retailers that accept chip credit cards, the total number of fraudulent transactions that occurred in a store hardly budged in 2016, the study found. Incidences involving point-of-sale fraud were flat in 2016 compared to the previous two years.

Fraudsters also opened accounts in consumers’ names, the study found, and increasingly took over existing accounts. Incidences involving account takeover fraud jumped by 31 percent in 2016.

Overall, the total number of U.S. consumers who became victims of identity theft grew by 16 percent in 2016, reaching an all-time high of 15.4 million consumers – 2 million more than the previous year.

“2016 will be remembered as a banner year for fraudsters as numerous measures of identity fraud reached new heights,” wrote Javelin’s Al Pascual, Kyle Marchini and Sarah Miller in a study summary.

Large-scale data breaches have also become more common, according to a separate report by the Pew Research Center. According to Pew:

  • 64 percent of Americans say they have been personally affected by a data breach.
  • 41 percent report their credit card details were used to make fraudulent transactions.
  • 14 percent say fraudsters used their identity to open new cards or take out some other type of line of credit.

Pew’s data show the uptick in data breaches and identity theft has caused many Americans to feel their personal information is less safe than it used to be.

“This survey finds that a majority of Americans have directly experienced some form of data theft or fraud, that a sizeable share of the public thinks their personal data have become less secure in recent years, and that many lack confidence in various institutions to keep their personal data safe from misuse,” wrote Pew’s Kenneth Olmstead and Aaron Smith in the January 2017 report. “In addition, many Americans are failing to follow digital security best practices in their own personal lives, and a substantial majority expects that major cyberattacks will be a fact of life in the future.”

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 15.44% 15.42%
15.18%
Low interest 12.24%
12.22% 11.98%
Cash back 15.60%
15.57%
15.32%
Balance transfer 14.68%
14.67%
14.38%
Business 13.41%
13.41%
13.12%
Student 13.67%
13.67%
13.42%
Airline 15.40%
15.40%
15.08%
Reward  15.50%
15.48%
15.29%
Instant approval 18.07%
18.03%
18.04%
Bad credit 23.01%
22.98%
22.56%
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: Feb. 1, 2017

See related: 2017 Balance Transfer Survey: Act now before 0% offers dry up, Americans' credit card debt hits $1 trillion


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Updated: 11-24-2017