Rate survey: Average card APR holds steady at record 15.44%

Kelly Dilworth
Personal finance writer
Specializing in new trends in credit


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

For the second consecutive week, the national average APR hit 15.44 percent, which is the highest national average CreditCards.com has recorded since it began tracking rates in mid-2007.

Several issuers tweaked card offers this week, but the changes were too small to affect the national average. The regional First National Bank increased the APR on its American Express card by 0.25 percent in order to match a December 2016 rate hike by the Federal Reserve. The grocery chain Meijer also increased the APR on its Platinum MasterCard by a quarter of a percent.

Meanwhile, the sporting goods store Cabela’s increased the APR on the Cabela’s Club Visa by 0.01 percent after the one-month Libor rate increased.

Retailers plan to focus more heavily on mobile payments
It’s getting easier – and potentially more lucrative – to shop with a mobile phone rather than a plastic payment card. According to a new study by the National Retail Foundation and Forrester Research, 54 percent of retailers plan to focus on mobile shopping and payments as a top priority for the New Year.

That could mean consumers could see more discounts in exchange for shopping on a mobile phone as more retailers lure customers with exclusive deals for mobile customers. Or consumers may find it easier to find a store that accepts mobile payments. A separate survey conducted by the National Retail Foundation and Forrester Research at the end of 2016 found that 76 percent of retailers plan to accept Apple Pay by January 2018. Seventy-two percent say they’ll be equipped with NFC technology so consumers can use an NFC-equipped phone to make a payment and 59 percent plan to accept PayPal.

Currently, just 36 percent of merchants accept Apple Pay, according to consulting firm Boston Retail Partners, while 34 percent accept PayPal. Other types of mobile payment methods are even harder to use at nationwide retail outlets. For example:

  • Only 25 percent of retailers accept Mastercard PayPass, according to Boston Retail Partners.
  • Just 24 percent accept Android Pay.
  • 20 percent accept Visa Checkout.
  • 18 percent accept Samsung Pay.
  • Just 11 percent accept Chase Pay.

Forrester Research predicts mobile payment transactions will swell to $282.9 billion over the next five years as consumers get more comfortable paying with their phones and retailers invest more heavily in mobile payments. But mobile payment providers could have a hard time expanding mobile payments at a faster clip if they aren’t able to convince more people that paying with a mobile phone is safe.

According to a 2016 survey by Pew Charitable Trusts, many consumers are still put off by a perceived lack of security around mobile payments. For example, 70 percent of respondents to a May 2016 survey said they were concerned about losing money or becoming a victim of identity theft if they use their phone to make a payment.

“Across generations, concern about the safety of mobile payments technology is the biggest obstacle to use,” wrote Pew in its report. Proponents insist that mobile payments are a secure method of payment. Yet, “Customers often don’t know how mobile payments compare with other payment methods in terms of convenience, cost, privacy and security,” said Pew.

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 15.44% 15.44%
Low interest 12.24%
12.24% 11.98%
Cash back 15.61%
Balance transfer 14.69%
Business 13.41%
Student 13.67%
Airline 15.40%
Reward  15.51%
Instant approval 18.09%
Bad credit 23.01%
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. 8, 2017

See related: Banks expect card troubles to mount in 2017

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Updated: 03-25-2019