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Rate Report

Average credit card interest rates: Week of Jan. 22, 2020

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

Summary

The average APR on new credit card offers didn’t budge Wednesday, despite a small rate hike on one of Citi’s business credit cards.

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The average credit card interest rate is 17.30%.

The average APR on new credit card offers didn’t budge Wednesday, despite a small rate hike on one of Citi’s business credit cards.

Citi increased the lowest available APR on the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® by 0.25%. However, the change was too small to affect the national average. Citi also extended the card’s maximum APR by more than a full percentage point, making it more likely that new cardholders will be assigned an APR well above 20%.

The business card’s maximum variable APR now stands at 26.49%, up from a previous maximum of 25.24%. Meanwhile, the card’s lowest available variable APR now stands at 17.49%. The card’s median APR currently stands at 21.99%.

The spread of possible interest rates on the card also increased: there is now a nine-point difference between the AAdvantage Platinum Select card’s lowest possible rate and its maximum rate.

Cards with extra-wide APR ranges have become increasingly common in recent years as lenders continue to treat maximum rates differently from how they treat a card’s lowest APR.

For example, it’s not unusual for a lender to hike a card’s maximum rate more dramatically than a card’s lowest available rate. It’s also relatively common for lenders to increase a card’s maximum rate, but leave a card’s lowest available rate alone.

As a result, consumers shopping for brand new cards are increasingly being presented with maximum rates that are significantly higher than a card’s lowest advertised APR. In many cases, maximum rates on brand new rewards cards – including cards that are targeted exclusively to consumers with good to excellent credit – run well above 25%.

The average maximum card APR is currently 24.53%, while the average median card APR is 20.92%.

However, among the 100 cards included in the weekly rate report, roughly half charge maximum APRs above 25%. Twelve charge maximum APRs above 27%.

See related: How credit card interest works

Chase hikes the annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase was also active this week. It increased the annual fee on its iconic super premium rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, by $100. New cardholders are now charged $550 to own a Sapphire Reserve card – up from $450.

Chase also added a number of brand-new benefits, including two years of $60 DoorDash credits (a $120 value), a one-year DoorDash DashPass subscription (so you can skip delivery fees), a free Lyft Pink membership for a year and bonus points on Lyft rides (through March 2022).

This is the first time Chase has increased the annual fee on the Reserve card since it launched the card in 2016. However, competitors have increased fees on their own super premium cards after revealing new benefits. For example, American Express previously increased the annual fee on The Platinum Card® from American Express to $550.

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%
Business15.01%14.99%15.61%
Student18.55%18.55%17.79%
Airline16.91%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 22, 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.

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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 22, 2020

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: January 29th, 2020
Business
14.99%
Airline
16.91%
Cash Back
17.33%
Reward
17.11%
Student
18.58%

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