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Rate Report

Average credit card interest rates: Week of Jan. 15, 2020

The average APR on new credit card offers stayed put at 17.30% for the fifth straight week

Summary

The average APR on new credit card offers remained fixed in place Wednesday, registering at 17.30% for the fifth consecutive week. Average rates are now just slightly below where they were this time last year, when the national average APR registered at 17.41%.

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The average credit card interest rate is 17.30%.

The average APR on new credit card offers remained fixed in place Wednesday, registering at 17.30% for the fifth consecutive week.

Average rates are now just slightly below where they were this time last year, when the national average APR registered at 17.41%.

However, rates on new card offers are still near record highs and are well above the historical average. The average APR for the past decade, for example, remains significantly below 16%.

Consumers shopping for a new card are also seeing historically high maximum credit card interest rates.

CreditCards.com only considers a card’s lowest possible rate when calculating the national average. However, most card issuers advertise a wide range of possible APRs, including maximum APRs that are often 8 to 10 points higher than a card’s lowest rate.

The average maximum APR climbed this week to 24.52% after one of the issuers tracked by CreditCards.com hiked the maximum possible APR on a cash back credit card, but left the card’s lowest available rate alone.

Meanwhile, the average median card APR – which is closer to what many new cardholders are assigned – remained unchanged at 20.91%.

As maximum APRs continue to climb and APR ranges widen, consumers continue to be significantly more likely to be assigned an APR close to 20% than they were just a few years ago.

See related: When is a credit card annual fee worth it?

U.S. Bank continues to tweak rates

Every week, CreditCards.com evaluates the APRs, annual fees and promotional terms of a representative sample of 100 U.S. credit cards.

Most card issuers tracked by CreditCards.com left card offers alone this week.

However, U.S. Bank revised the offer on another one of its rewards credit cards this week. It increased the maximum APR on the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card by half a percentage point. Cardholders are now awarded a maximum APR as high as 25.49%. U.S. Bank left the card’s minimum APR of 15.49% alone.

The Cash+ card is the fourth offer this month that U.S. Bank has revised. Last week, U.S. Bank hiked rates on two of its travel cards – the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card and the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite – as well as its plain vanilla low interest U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card.

The changes would have caused the national average APR to rise. However, Capital One also trimmed rates last week, canceling out U.S. Bank’s rate hikes. Capital One was one of the last major card issuers to trim rates by a quarter of a percentage point in tandem with the Fed’s October rate cut.

Although most lenders have chosen to match the Fed’s rate changes by revising new card offers, some issuers are slower than others to revise their offers on the web.

Average credit card interest rates this week

Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average17.30%17.30%17.76%
Low interest14.10%14.10%14.72%
Cash back17.32%17.32%17.68%
Balance transfer15.46%15.46%15.59%
Business14.99%14.99%15.61%
Student18.55%18.55%17.79%
Airline16.90%16.90%17.59%
Rewards17.11%17.11%17.58%
Instant approval19.56%19.56%20.24%
Bad credit25.30%25.30%25.33%
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: January 15, 2020

Historic interest rates by card type

Some credit cards charge even higher rates, on average. The type of rate you get will depend in part on the category of credit card you own. For example, even the best travel credit cards often charge higher rates than basic, low interest credit cards.

CreditCards.com has been calculating average rates for a wide variety of credit card categories, including student cards, balance transfer cards, cash back cards and more, since 2007.

How to get a low credit card interest rate

Your odds of getting approved for a card’s lowest rate will increase the more you improve your credit score. Some factors that influence your credit card APR will be out of your control, such as the length of time you’ve been handling credit.

However, even if you’re new to credit or are rebuilding your score, there are steps you can take to ensure a lower APR. For example:

  1. Pay your bills on time. The single most important factor influencing your credit score – and your ability to win a lower rate – is your track record of making on-time payments. Lenders are more likely to trust you with a competitive APR – and other positive terms, such as a big credit limit – if you have a lengthy history of paying your bills on time.
  2. Keep your balances low. Lenders also want to see that you are responsible with your credit and don’t overcharge. As a result, credit scores take into account the amount of credit you’re using, compared to how much credit you’ve been given. This is known as your credit utilization ratio. Typically, the lower your ratio, the better. For example, personal finance experts often recommend that you keep your balances well below 30% of your total credit limit.
  3. Build a lengthy and diverse credit history. Lenders also like to see that you’ve been successfully using credit for a long time and have experience with different types of credit, including revolving credit and installment loans. As a result, credit scores, such as the FICO score and VantageScore, factor in the average length of your credit history and the types of loans you’ve handled (which is known as your credit mix). To keep your credit history as long as possible, continue to use your oldest credit card so your lender doesn’t close it.
  4. Call your lender. If you’ve successfully owned a credit card for a long time, you may be able to convince your lender to lower your interest rate – especially if you have excellent credit. Reach out to your lender and ask if they’d be willing to negotiate a lower APR.
  5. Monitor your credit report. Check your credit reports regularly to make sure you’re being accurately scored.The last thing you want is for a mistake or unauthorized account to drag down your credit score. You have the right to check your credit reports from each major credit bureau (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) once per year for free through AnnualCreditReport.com.

Information about the U.S. Bank cards has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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Published: January 15, 2020

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: January 15th, 2020
Business
14.99%
Airline
16.90%
Cash Back
17.32%
Reward
17.11%
Student
18.55%

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