Credit card interest rates rise for fourth straight week

Interest rates on new credit card offers tiptoed higher this week, according to the Weekly Credit Card Rate Report, marking the fourth consecutive weekly increase.'s Weekly Rate Report
  Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average 14.35%
Low interest 12.04%
12.04% 11.97%
Cash back  12.63%
Balance transfer 12.93%
Business 12.96%
Student 13.96%
Airline 14.46%
Instant approval 15.99%
Bad credit 20.32%
Methodology: The national average credit card APR is comprised of 95 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: 6-23-2010

The current stretch of annual percentage rate (APR) increases is the longest in more than a year and boosts the national average rate on new card offers to 14.35 percent.

Still reeling from the Credit CARD Act's regulations and stubbornly high unemployment, issuers remain cautious about lending, experts say. "The wounds from the recession remain fresh and competition for new cardholders is much more moderate and selective -- the 'new normal' is shaping up to be an environment with more-disciplined issuers as well as consumers," says John Grund, co-manager of the card issuing practive area of First Annapolis Consulting. "Most pre-recession and pre-CARD Act reference points are obsolete," Grund says. 

This week, Citi switched its CitiForward card's APR from a range of 12.99 to 20.24 percent to a single rate of 14.24 percent. Because's rates calculations are based on the low end of any ranges, the change to a single rate was viewed as an increase. Citi didn't respond to requests for comment.

Citi's was the biggest move of the week, but it wasn't the only one. Navy Federal Credit Union continued to adjust its offers, slightly boosting rates on its Cash Rewards Visa card and the top end of the APR range for its Platinum MasterCard. While the credit union didn't provide a new comment, Navy Federal did point to its statement following card changes last week, which indicated that its card pricing is re-evaluated on an ongoing basis.

These card offer adjustment continue to make borrowing on plastic more expensive. For example, a typical cardholder who borrowed $5,000 on a credit card today and consistently paid $150 per month at today's average interest rate would have to pay $6,417 to pay off the debt. That's $182 more than would have been required six months ago. (Calculator: How long will it take to pay off your credit card balance?)

See related: Capital One move pushes APRs higher for 3rd straight week, Credit card lending standards keep tightening, Fed report says, Credit card reform arrives in the form of the Credit CARD Act, Calculator: How long will it take to pay off your credit card balance?Credit card rates: interactive graphic on APR changes

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Updated: 03-26-2019