Survey: Average card APR stays at record 16.14 percent for fifth week

Kelly Dilworth
Personal Finance Writer
Specializing in new trends in credit

 

The average APR for new card offers remained fixed in place this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

None of the cards monitored by CreditCards.com advertised new interest rates. As a result, the national average APR remained at a record high of 16.14 percent for the fifth straight week.

This is the longest stretch of time the national average has remained unchanged in more than nine months. For most of 2017, the average APR climbed steadily upward as card issuers responded to federal interest rate changes. Since December 2016, the Federal Reserve has increased rates by three-quarters of a percentage point. Most issuers have matched the Fed’s changes, causing the average APR to rise to record highs.

Issuers rarely cut rates these days. Since Jan. 1, the average card APR has declined just twice in our weekly survey. 

Banks waive fees for Hurricane Irma victims
Less than two weeks after waiving credit card and bank fees for Hurricane Harvey victims, major banks and regional lenders are again offering relief, this time to victims of Hurricane Irma.

Several banks with footprints in Florida and other regions affected by the natural disaster have offered to temporarily waive credit card fees and other charges that victims of the disaster could have trouble paying. In most cases, victims who qualify must live in an area that’s been declared as a disaster area by the president.

Citi, for example, announced it is automatically waiving late fees on credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and other lines of credit and will also waive monthly service fees for deposit accounts. In addition, it will allow Citi credit card holders affected by Irma to temporarily defer minimum payments on their credit cards and seek bigger credit lines to pay for emergency expenses. Mortgage holders may also be granted temporary forbearance.

Similarly, Wells Fargo will forgive late payments on credit cards, student loans, mortgages, personal loans and other lines of credit for up to 90 days. The bank has promised not to report any missed payments by hurricane victims to the credit bureaus or charge any late fees. Like many area banks, it is also waiving ATM fees.

Regions Bank has also offered minimum payment extensions for credit card holders and personal loan borrowers. It’s also waiving bank fees and offering discounts on new loans to people who need help funding their rebuilding efforts.

Chase will waive late fees on credit cards, mortgages, auto loans and other lines of credit and cancel bank fees for deposit accountholders. It will also allow customers with mortgages and home equity lines of credit delay payments for up to 90 days.

Florida Community Bank has offered to waive a number of credit card fees for affected customers, including late fees, over-limit fees, fees for paying by phone or requesting a rush card and other account management fees. It also says it will work with customers on loan extensions and faster loan processing and is temporarily forgiving bank fees.

Bank of America was more vague. It said that victims who live in disaster areas may be eligible for relief, but didn’t specify what kind of relief it will be granting. “The bank will contact clients directly with details,” said Bank of America in a news release.

BBVA Compass also said it will waive bank fees and work with disaster-affected customers on special loan forbearance programs.

The Consumer Data Industry Association reminded banks after Hurricane Harvey to add special notations to consumers’ credit files if a borrower has been affected by a natural disaster. VantageScore doesn’t penalize late payments by consumers whose accounts have been marked as affected by a natural disaster, but does report on-time payments. Meanwhile, FICO doesn’t penalize natural disaster victims who have entered into a forbearance program with their banks.

CreditCards.com's Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 16.14% 16.14%
15.51%
Low interest 12.88%
12.88% 12.36%
Cash back 16.37%
16.37%
15.61%
Balance transfer 15.37%
15.37%
14.77%
Business 13.68%
13.68%
13.41%
Student 15.70%
15.70%
13.67%
Airline 16.07%
16.07%
15.44%
Reward  16.23%
16.23%
15.59%
Instant approval 18.60%
18.60%
18.09%
Bad credit 23.46%
23.46%
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: Sept. 13, 2017

See related: Historic credit card rates chart, Unexpected hurricane victim: your credit score


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Updated: 11-21-2017