Survey: Average card APR holds steady at 16.06 percent for third week
The national average APR for new credit cards held still this week despite multiple changes to card offers, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
Several cards advertised new rates this week. However, the changes didn’t move the average card APR, which has remained at 16.06 percent for three weeks.
More than a month after the Federal Reserve increased its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percent, Chase hiked APRs on all new Chase cards by the same amount.
SunTrust Bank also increased rates by a quarter of a percent on some cards. However, it cut the lowest available APR on the SunTrust Specialty Business card by more than 2 percentage points and added a maximum APR that’s more than 3 points higher than the card’s previous highest rate. Only the card’s lowest rate affected the national average. The increases and decreases in rates balanced each other out, and so the national average remained unchanged.
Super premium cards get pricier
As premium rewards cards with high annual fees become more popular, issuers are revising their offers and adding more freebies to their cards. But in exchange for more lucrative rewards programs, some card issuers are also raising fees or increasing the amount of spending cardholders need to complete in order to earn a more generous bonus.
Citi, for example, announced July 17 it’s increasing the sign-up bonus on its most-generous premium credit card, the Citi Prestige card, to 75,000 bonus points later this month.* To earn the lucrative sign-up bonus – which is worth up to $935 in free travel – cardholders have to spend $7,500 in the first three months of being approved for the card. Previously, cardholders had to spend $4,000 to earn 40,000 bonus points. The super-premium card, which costs $450 a year to own, will also feature enhanced benefits, including better exchange rates for cardholders who want to redeem their points for cash and easier redemption for cardholders who want to claim a free fourth night at a hotel.
Similarly, in March 2017, American Express increased the value of the rewards benefits on the American Express Platinum card. For example, cardholders can now redeem up to $200 worth of yearly Uber credits and can also earn more points for travel booked through American Express. But in exchange for the “enhanced” benefits, American Express also increased the card’s annual fee from $450 to $550.
Despite the higher annual fees and spending thresholds on some super premium credit cards, annual fees overall are declining. According to the financial services company Credit Suisse, the average credit card annual fee fell, year-over-year, to an average of $86 in May 2017. Card offers containing an annual fee are also relatively rare. According to Credit Suisse, only 15 percent of card offers mailed to consumers’ homes in May advertised an annual fee.
Card companies are also wooing
In addition to luring new cardholders with stronger card offers, credit card companies are also wooing businesses with bigger promotions and better advertising benefits. For example, in a bid to increase credit card spending, Visa announced July 12 that it’s offering 50 eligible restaurants, cafes and food trucks that only accept credit, debit and prepaid cards a one-time gift of $10,000.
Meanwhile, Chase announced July 18 that it’s developed new travel guides for cardholders based on where Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders are spending their money. Restaurants and other businesses that make the cut are profiled by Chase and given a chance to extoll their benefits to potential customers.
|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: July 19, 2017|
* The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers.
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