BACK

Rate Report

Rate survey: Average card APR climbs to 16.15 percent

Summary

Sept. 20, 2017: The average APR for new credit card offers inched up to another record high Wednesday, according to the CreditCards.com 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 average APR for new credit card offers inched up to another record high Wednesday, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

The national average APR climbed to 16.15 percent, setting another all-time record. Interest rates on new card offers are currently at their highest point since CreditCards.com began tracking rates in mid-2007.

Citi helped spur this week’s rate change by boosting the lowest available APR on the Citi Diamond Preferred card from 13.49 percent to 13.99 percent. It also nudged the card’s maximum rate by half a percentage point, pushing it up to a high of 23.99 percent.

A change in the CreditCards.com database also affected this week’s rate change. Occasionally, CreditCards.com switches up the cards in the rate report’s 100-card sample. This week, CreditCards.com replaced a retail card with limited availability with another store card with a slightly higher APR.

More cardholders miss payments
As credit card balances rise, more borrowers are falling behind on paying their bills. According to Reuters, several banks reported this month that credit card borrowers were missing more payments. Capital One, J.P. Morgan Chase and Discover have all reported upticks in the number of credit card holders who are behind on card payments by 30 days or more.

According to research released last month by the New York Federal Reserve, the number of cardholders who are more than 90 days behind on paying at least the minimum amount due on their credit cards has also increased significantly in recent months, indicating possible financial distress.

Most cardholders who are seriously behind on paying their bills already had low credit scores and a history of missing bills. But the uptick in missed payments is significant, say economists, particularly since the job market is relatively strong.

“This growth is particularly concerning, particularly in the context of a strong economy and low interest rates,” wrote New York Federal Reserve economists in an Aug. 15 blog post.

Banks typically see sharp upticks in seriously delinquent payments when the economy softens and a large number of people lose their jobs.

Despite recent increases in missed payments, credit card delinquencies by 30 days or more are still relatively rare by historical standards.

The number of late payments issuers record has been historically low for several years now.

Delinquencies were expected to become more common as banks opened up credit to a larger number of cardholders with damaged scores. However, banks have been relatively conservative about how much credit they allow cardholders with lower scores to get, limiting their risk.

According to research by the American Bankers Association, for example, consumers with low scores are given, on average, just $2,574 in available credit when they open a new card. Cardholders with midtier scores, by contrast, are awarded roughly $5,635 on average, while cardholders with the best scores are given credit lines totaling $10,299 on average.

Credit card issuers have also approved the majority of their new cards to consumers with excellent scores. According to the New York Federal Reserve, recent increases in the number of cards that banks issue to consumers with lower scores have slowed over the past year. However, consumers with good to excellent credit are continuing to open cards at significantly higher rates.

CreditCards.com’s Weekly Rate Report
Avg. APRLast week 6 months ago
National average16.15%16.14%15.51%
Low interest12.89%12.88%12.37%
Cash back16.40%16.37%15.61%
Balance transfer15.38%15.37%14.78%
Business13.68%13.68%13.41%
Student15.70%15.70%13.67%
Airline16.07%16.07%15.44%
Reward16.24%16.23%15.59%
Instant approval18.60%18.60%18.09%
Bad credit23.46%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. 20, 2017

See related:Historic credit card rates chart, Credit bureaus tighten reporting rules: Who wins, who loses?, Millennials’ credit usage lags Gen-Xers as young adults

What’s up next?

In Rate Report

Rate survey: Average card APR remains at record 16.14 percent for fourth week

Sept. 6, 2017: The average APR for new card offers didn’t budge Wednesday, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

Published: September 6, 2017

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: August 21st, 2019
Business
15.55%
Airline
17.49%
Cash Back
17.63%
Reward
17.49%
Student
17.69%

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 CreditCards.com 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.