The average APR on new credit card offers broke another record this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
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The average APR on new credit card offers broke another record this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. The national average APR climbed to 17.67 percent after two cards included in the weekly rate report independently hiked rates.
Every week, CreditCards.com evaluates the APRs, annual fees and promotional terms of 100 U.S. credit cards. This week, two rewards credit cards, the Gap Visa card and the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card, advertised significantly higher APRs, causing the national average to increase.
Gap, for example, increased the APR on its store credit card by a full percentage point. Shoppers are now charged 28.24 percent if they carry a balance on a Gap card – well above what the average credit card charges.
Meanwhile, Wells Fargo increased the lowest available APR on the Propel American Express card by 1 and a half percentage points. Cardholders are now offered a minimum APR starting at 16.24 percent. Wells Fargo left the Propel card’s maximum APR alone at 27.24 percent. Previously, Wells Fargo customers with the best credit scores could potentially qualify for a 14.74 percent interest rate.
See related: Historic credit card interest rates chart
Low-interest rewards cards getting scarce
Cardholders searching for a lower rate card that also offers rewards are now going to have an even harder time finding one with a rate below 15 percent – even if they have excellent credit. Minimum APRs have increased steadily in recent years – particularly on rewards cards.
Among the 100 cards included in the weekly rate report, for example, just 22 offer rates are below 15 percent. Among those cards:
- Just 15 of the lower rate cards are for consumers. Seven are business credit cards.
- Seven are plain vanilla cards without rewards
- Just three of the general market rewards cards that charge rates below 15 percent are from major banks: The Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Miles cards and the PNC Points Visa
- 10 of the cards with rates below 15 percent are from credit unions, regional banks or smaller banks, such as USAA, that restrict who can access them.
- One is a student credit card.
Excellent credit? Good luck finding low APRs
Consumers with excellent credit used to have a much easier time finding cards with lower rates.
Just three years ago, for example, the average minimum APR for all credit cards was within rounding distance of 15 percent.
For example, the national average APR on March 20, 2016 was 15.16 percent. Meanwhile, the average minimum APR for rewards cards was 15.26 percent.
Today, the average rewards credit card advertises a minimum APR of 17.55 percent.
Consumers willing to forgo rewards in exchange for a lower rate may also have trouble finding a suitable credit card. For example, plain vanilla cards from major issuers still charge relatively high rates.
For example, the BankAmericard credit card charges a minimum APR of 15.24 percent. The Barclaycard Ring Mastercard charges a minimum APR of 14.24 percent, while the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card charges a minimum APR of 14.74 percent.
See related: Guide to rising credit card interest rates
Lengthy balance transfers still plentiful, if your credit is good
Consumers hoping to transfer their balances to a card with a promotional 0 percent APR should have no trouble finding a card with a lengthy offer, though – as long as they have a strong enough credit score to qualify.
Among the 100 cards included in the weekly rate report, 21 give cardholders at least 15 months to carry a transferred balance interest-free. Some give cardholders even longer.
For example, Regions Bank recently sweetened its balance transfer offer on the Regions Prestige Visa Signature Credit Card by giving cardholders 18 months to carry a transferred balance before the card’s standard rate kicked in. Previously, cardholders were given just 12 months.
CreditCards.com’s Weekly Rate Report
|Avg. APR||Last week||6 months ago|
|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: March 20, 2019|