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Rate Report

Average credit card interest rates: Week of Sept. 11, 2019

Most card issuers left interest rates alone this week. As a result, the average APR on new credit card offers didn’t budge

Summary

The average APR on new credit card offers didn’t budge this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

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The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Please see the bank’s website for the most current version of card offers; and please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

The average credit card interest rate is 17.61 percent.

Most card issuers left interest rates alone this week. As a result, the average APR on new credit card offers didn’t budge.

A few issuers adjusted rates on select cards. However, the changes were too small to affect the national average.

Chase bumped up the APR on the United Explorer Card after floating different offers for the past couple of weeks. Occasionally, credit card issuers will show varying offers to applicants, depending on when and how they accessed an online application.

The airline card now charges new applicants a range of variable APRs starting at 18.49 percent and maxing out at 25.49 percent.

Meanwhile, HSBC trimmed the APR on the Advance Mastercard by a quarter of a percentage point in tandem with the Federal Reserve’s July 2019 rate change.

None of the issuers monitored by CreditCards.com adjusted promotional terms this week. Every week, CreditCards.com evaluates the APRs of 100 U.S. credit cards.

See related:  Card balances surged by $10 billion in July, per Fed report

Average card APR at its lowest level in more than six months

The average card APR is currently at a more than six-month low after dozens of cards included in the rate report began advertising lower APRs in tandem with the Fed.

Most major card issuers have now matched the Fed’s first rate cut in more than a decade, according to CreditCards.com data. As a result, consumers shopping for a new card are getting significantly better deals than they did at the beginning of the year.

In addition to lower minimum APRs, on average, most cards are also advertising slightly lower maximum APRs. CreditCards.com only considers a card’s lowest rate when calculating the national average. However, most cards advertise a wide range of potential rates.

The average maximum APR has declined to 24.98 percent after remaining above 25 percent for months. Meanwhile, the average median card APR, which is closer to what many cardholders can expect to pay, currently stands at 21.30 percent.

Average card APRs are still well above their historical average, though, despite the recent drop in rates. A year ago, for example, the average card APR stood at 16.92 percent. Three years ago, it registered at just 15.22 percent.

See related:  4 credit card moves to make before the year ends

Rates could fall again soon

Rates could fall again in the coming weeks if the Federal Reserve decides to cut its benchmark interest rate, the federal funds rate, for the second time this year. When the Fed alters rates, card issuers typically match the Fed’s rate change on both new and existing offers.

The Fed’s rate-setting committee is scheduled to meet again Sept. 17-18, and a number of analysts have predicted that it will opt again to cut rates.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell noted in Sept. 6 a speech that the last rate cut has helped the U.S. economy remain on a positive course.

“The Fed has through the course of the year seen fit to lower the expected path of interest rates,” said Powell, according to multiple reports. “That has supported the economy.”

Average credit card interest rates this week

Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average17.61%17.61%17.64%
Low interest14.53%14.53%14.63%
Cash back17.53%17.53%17.58%
Balance transfer15.46%15.47%16.87%
Business15.45%15.45%15.24%
Student17.58%17.58%17.79%
Airline17.38%17.37%17.50%
Rewards17.40%17.40%17.51%
Instant approval20.08%20.08%20.06%
Bad credit25.21%25.21%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: September 11, 2019

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 percent 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.

What’s up next?

In Rate Report

FICO: Average credit score reaches all-time high of 706

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Published: September 10, 2019

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: September 11th, 2019
Business
15.45%
Airline
17.38%
Cash Back
17.53%
Reward
17.40%
Student
17.58%

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