Research and Statistics

Rate survey: Average card APR falls to 15.77 percent


May 24, 2017: The national average APR for new card offers dropped to a four-week low Wednesday, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

The editorial content below is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners. Learn more about our advertising policy.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers; and please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

The national average APR for new card offers dropped to a four-week low Wednesday, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

The APR fell to 15.77 percent after remaining at 15.79 percent for two weeks. This is just the second time this year that the national average APR has declined in our weekly survey of 100 representative credit cards. The average rate increased 11 times this year.

Discover spurred this week’s rate change by cutting the lowest available APR on the Discover “it” card, by 2 percentage points. Cardholders are now offered a range of APRs starting at 11.74 percent and maxing out at 23.74 percent.

Discover’s previous offer of 13.74 percent appeared to be a test offer. The card issuer increased the “it” card’s minimum APR from 11.74 percent to 13.74 percent in early May. The offer lasted just a few brief weeks.

None of the other cards tracked by altered rates this week.

Card issuers mail fewer offers

Consumers are receiving fewer credit card offers in their mailboxes, according to new research released by the financial firm Credit Suisse. Card issuers sent just 249 million card offers to prospective customers last month – down 35 percent from April 2016.

The number of card offers has declined every month this year, indicating that issuers are pulling back somewhat. In December 2016, by contrast, issuers mailed more than 300 million card offers.

After evaluating the number of offers mailed for the fourth month in a row, Credit Suisse downgraded its forecast for 2017. The financial firm now predicts roughly 3.9 billion credit card offers will be mailed out by the end of 2017, down 10 percent from the previous year.

“We believe 2016 was a particularly aggressive year with multiple new product introductions,” wrote Credit Suisse analysts Moshe Orenbuch and Serena Hong in a May 23 research note. “A number of cards with very competitive rewards were introduced in 2016, notably Citi’s Costco card, Chase’s Freedom Unlimited and Sapphire Reserve (which we note did not have direct mailing).”

Instead of mailing card offers directly to consumers’ homes, issuers may shift some of their marketing focus online, they added.

More rewards, fewer interest-free offers
On the plus side, more card offers now advertise some kind of rewards program, Credit Suisse found. For example, 72 percent of card offers contained some kind of rewards program in April, up significantly from last year.

However, fewer card offers advertised a promotional 0 percent purchase rate, indicating that card issuers have become slightly less generous about issuing interest-free credit. Out of the 249 million offers mailed last month, just 167 million – 67 percent – advertised a 0 percent interest rate on purchases. In April 2016, by contrast, 255 million credit card offers advertised a 0 percent purchase rate.

Slightly more card offers advertised an interest-free offer on balance transfers, however.

The amount of time cardholders were given to take advantage of an interest-free balance transfer offer also increased slightly. The average balance transfer offer gives cardholders roughly 14.4 months to pay off a transferred balance before the card’s promotional 0 percent interest rate expires – up from an average length of 14.1 months in 2016, according to Credit Suisse.’s Weekly Rate Report
Avg. APRLast week 6 months ago
National average15.77%15.79%15.18%
Low interest12.62%12.66%12.00%
Cash back15.84%15.89%15.33%
Balance transfer15.07%15.07%14.41%
Instant approval18.30%18.30%17.86%
Bad credit23.23%23.23%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.)
Updated: May 24, 2017

See related:Credit card issuer complaints rose 20 percent in 2016, Infographic: Card market continues climb, but subprime still in hole

What’s up next?

In Research and Statistics

Credit card issuer complaints rose 20 percent in 2016

Complaints about credit cards rose by 20 percent in 2016, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, along with a surge of dissatisfaction with reward programs. American Express, Barclays PLC and Citibank topped the gripes list

Published: May 24, 2017

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: September 18th, 2019
Cash Back

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.