Rate Report

Average credit card interest rates: Week of April 1, 2020

The average credit card interest rate sinks to 16.27%, which is the lowest it's been since 2017


The average APR on new credit card offers fell sharply this week, dropping to its lowest point since 2017. The national average credit card APR is now 1.4 percentage points lower than it was this time last year.

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The average credit card interest rate is 16.27%.

The average APR on new credit card offers fell sharply this week, dropping to its lowest point since 2017. The national average credit card APR is now 1.4 percentage points lower than it was this time last year.

Several lenders cut rates this week, pushing the average new card APR downward for the fifth consecutive week.

However, lenders didn’t cut rates by the same amount.

Barclaycard, USAA, Discover and Bank America slashed APRs on their credit card advertisements by one and a half percentage points, matching the Federal Reserve’s emergency March rate cuts.

However, Chase only trimmed interest rates on new credit card offers by half of a percentage point. This is the first time Chase has cut rates since November.

It’s not clear if Chase will further cut interest rates in the coming weeks or if it will leave APRs alone for now.

Usually, when the Federal Reserve revises its benchmark interest rate, most lenders eventually change APRs on new card offers by the same amount – at least temporarily. However, lenders don’t always follow the same timeline or cut rates at the same pace. As a result, it can take a while for most lenders to catch up to the Fed.

Lenders are also free to set offers on brand-new credit cards as they wish and aren’t required to match federal rate changes. (They do have to revise APRs on existing variable rate credit cards, though.) As a result, some card offers don’t change at all, despite federal interest rate changes. Other lenders match federal rate changes briefly, but then reverse the changes on select cards.

Lenders are also much more likely to independently hike APRs on select credit cards, rather than cut them.

As a result, average rates on new card offers haven’t fallen nearly as sharply as federal interest rates. Since July 2019, for example, the Federal Reserve has cut rates by 2.25 percentage points. However, the national average card APR has only fallen by 1.53 percentage points – a 0.72 percentage point difference.

See related: Coronavirus: IRS provides details on stimulus payments 

Average rates are likely to keep dropping – for now

So far, eight of the nation’s leading credit card issuers have fully matched the Fed’s 1.5-percentage-point rate cut: American Express, Citi, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, USAA and Barclaycard. Several smaller lenders have also cut rates by the same amount, including State Farm, Key Bank, Huntington Bank, Deserve and PNC Bank.

However, Capital One has yet to revise card offers. It is still advertising the same rates it advertised in February.

Meanwhile, a number of lenders, including Chase, have matched the Fed’s half-point rate cut. However, they haven’t yet matched the Federal Reserve’s full point rate cut from March 15.

If more lenders decide to fully match the Federal Reserve’s emergency rate cuts, the average APR on new credit card offers could fall below 16% for the first time in nearly three years.

Average credit card interest rates this week

Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average16.27%16.69%17.54%
Low interest13.01%13.48%14.47%
Cash back16.16%16.55%17.46%
Balance transfer14.11%14.62%15.38%
Instant approval19.01%19.74%20.06%
Bad credit24.62%24.99%25.14%
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.)
Updated: April 1, 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. 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

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: April 1st, 2020
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