June 14, 2017: The national average APR for new card offers bounced to another all-time high this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
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The average card APR increased from a previous high of 15.83 to a record high of 15.89 percent.
However, unlike previous rate changes, this week’s change was due to a reshuffling of cards included in the CreditCards.com database rather than an APR change. Comerica discontinued the Comerica College Rewards Visa. CreditCards.com replaced it with a new student card, the SelfScore Achieve MasterCard for International Students, which charges a significantly higher APR.
The Comerica College Rewards Visa card is the second student card in two months to be taken off the market. In May, U.S. Bank discontinued the U.S. Bank College Visa card. Other student cards have also disappeared in the past year, including the Regions Student Visa.
Store cards get a boost
Consumers are paying more attention to store card options, according to new research from the financial technology company Vyze, and are favoring stores that offer steep discounts, such as Amazon and Target, when opting for a store card.
According to Vyze, 78 percent of consumers have heard of in-store financing options, such as store credit cards – up from 51 percent in 2015 – thanks in part to store clerks who “are increasingly pushing shoppers to sign up for retail store cards at checkout.”
Store cards are popular with retailers, the financial technology company says, because they tend to inspire store loyalty and encourage people to buy more. “These cards not only increase immediate sales, but also often generate a recurring profit stream in the form of larger ticket sizes and repeat purchases,” according to Vyze in a news release.
Most consumers who have a store card prefer the retail giants, Amazon and Target, both of which offer deep discounts on merchandise and substantial rewards for cardholders.
According to Vyze’s study, 32 percent of consumers who own at least one store card own an Amazon.com card, while 30 percent own a Target card. The department store Macy’s offers the third-most-popular store card overall; however, the warehouse giant Costco – which also offers big discounts – is more popular with young people.
According to Vyze, 48 percent of millennial store cardholders own an Amazon card, 44 percent own a Target card and 29 percent own a card from Costco. Meanwhile, 60 percent of millennials say owning a store card makes them want to come back.
Amazon offers 2 percent back in exchange for using cash
In addition to its popular credit card, Amazon has also launched a new rewards program for people who would rather use cash instead of credit.
The new Amazon Reload service offers Amazon Prime members a 2 percent rewards bonus each time they use an Amazon Reload gift card funded by a shopper’s checking account.
The new Reload service gives consumers who don’t want to use credit cards another option for funding their purchases while still earning big rewards. It also helps Amazon avoid paying credit card transaction fees on purchases.
|CreditCards.com’s Weekly Rate Report|
|Avg. APR||Last week||6 months ago|
|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: June 14, 2017|