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

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

For the fourth consecutive week, the national average APR stayed at a record high of 16.14 percent.

Most card issuers left interest rates unchanged this week. A handful of cards tweaked APRs on new offers, but the changes were either too small to affect the national average or only affected a card’s maximum rate.

The co-branded store card from the sporting goods retailer Cabela’s, for example, increased rates by just 0.01 percent. Citi, meanwhile, increased the APR on the Aadvantage Gold World Elite MasterCard by 0.25 percent.

American Express also edited rates this week, cutting the maximum APR on the Everyday card by 1 percentage point. But the rate cut didn’t affect the national average because CreditCards.com only considers a card’s lowest available rate when calculating average interest rates.

American Express, Chase debut no-annual-fee airline cards
Frequent flyers will soon have more travel cards to choose from. Both American Express and Chase are debuting brand-new airline-branded credit cards that are designed to appeal to younger, less affluent cardholders.

United Airlines and Chase announced Sept. 1 that they are launching a unique no-fee airline card that earns “TravelBank” rewards that can be used to directly purchase a United Airlines flight, in whole or in part.

“Even if customers have not earned enough TravelBank [rewards] for the entire price of a United Ticket, they can see an immediate benefit,” said Chase in a news release. “For example, if they have earned $75 in TravelBank [rewards], they can use that toward a $200 flight and pay the remaining $125 with their United TravelBank card.”

According to Chase, cardholders will also be able to redeem as little as a $1 from their accounts. Many rewards cards, by contrast, require cardholders to earn a minimum amount, such as $25, before they can redeem what they’ve earned.

The new United TravelBank card also offers an unusually generous rewards rate for a no-fee airline card. Cardholders are awarded a flat 1.5 percent cash back rate on general purchases and 2 percent cash back bonus on United Airlines purchases. Many airline cards, by contrast, only award bonuses on air travel and award just one mile per dollar spent on general purchases.

The higher rewards value for everyday purchases makes the United TravelBank card a better pick for occasional travelers who don’t fly often enough to earn a large amount on ticket purchases. In addition, unlike most airline-branded cards, the TravelBank card does not charge an annual fee.

Delta and American Express are also expected to announce a new airline card this week that’s less expensive than the average airline card. According to Bloomberg News, American Express and Delta are getting ready to launch a no-annual-fee airline card that’s designed to appeal to millennials who aren’t willing to pay a yearly fee.

The new Blue Delta SkyMiles credit card won’t be nearly as generous as the United TravelBank card. Cardholders will earn just one mile per dollar spent on general purchases. But the Blue Delta SkyMiles card will award a 2-mile bonus on dining purchases and Delta Airlines purchases.

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

See related: Historic credit card rates chart, Is it time for a rewards card reboot?, Earn up to 100,000 bonus points with AmEx Hilton cards for a limited time

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Updated: 02-19-2019