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Rate Report

Rate survey: Average card APR remains at 17.71 percent

Summary

The average APR on new credit card offers held steady this week, despite a number of individual rate cuts.

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The average APR on new credit card offers held steady this week, despite a number of individual rate cuts. According to CreditCards.com’s Weekly Credit Card Rate Report, the national average APR remained at 17.71 percent.

Three cards monitored by CreditCards.com advertised slightly lower rates this week. However, the changes were too small to affect the national average.

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

This week, a few more card issuers, including Fifth Third Bank and SunTrust, trimmed rates on new card offers by a quarter of a percentage point in response to the Federal Reserve’s July rate cut. When the Federal Reserve changes its benchmark interest rate, the federal funds rate, issuers often match the Fed’s changes by revising the APRs on both new and existing variable rate cards.

See related:  Historic credit card interest rates chart

Bank of America, Chase among banks holding off on rate cuts for now

So far, several major issuers, including American Express, Citi, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank, have cut the APRs on new cards.

However, a number of other credit card issuers, including Bank of America, Chase, Capital One and Discover, have yet to revise new offers.

Issuers often take several weeks to match the Fed’s rate changes, but they aren’t required to do so. Although most credit card issuers have opted in the past to increase rates on new card in tandem with the Fed’s rate hikes, it’s still not clear if an equal number of issuers will decide to lower rates this summer.

Even if a larger number of credit card issuers match the Federal Reserve’s rate cut, average card APRs will continue to remain near record highs.

Interest rates have climbed sharply in recent years as card issuers hike rates in tandem with the Fed and revise individual card offers. A year ago, for example, the average APR just barely surpassed 17 percent. Three years ago, it clocked in at 15.19 percent.

Consumers who are less experienced with credit or who have less-than-perfect credit scores are paying even higher interest rates.

The average maximum card APR, for example, currently stands at 25.07 percent – more than seven points higher than the average minimum card APR. Meanwhile, the average median card APR – which is closer to what many cardholders are assigned – stands at 21.39 percent.

See related:  More credit card accounts are open than ever before – but new ones are declining

Some analysts predict the Fed will continue to cut rates

Average rates could drop more significantly over the next year if the Fed decides to continue cutting its benchmark interest rate and card issuers match the rate cuts.

Some analysts predict the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee will decide to cut rates by more than a full percentage point over the next year as the Fed responds to a weakening global economy.

For example, Danske Bank released a research note on Aug. 16 predicting that the Fed will cut rates by a quarter of a percentage point five more times over the next year. That would lead to a total drop of 1.25 percentage points from where the federal funds rate stands now.

If enough card issuers matched the Fed’s rate changes, it could cause the national average credit card APR to fall below 17 percent for the first time in over a year.

Consumers who are searching for a new card may not see such a big drop in average APRs, though – even if the Fed does cut rates by more than a percentage point.

The last time the Fed dramatically cut rates in 2008, the average APR hardly budged in comparison, indicating that many issuers chose not to cut rates on new card offers.

CreditCards.com’s Weekly Rate Report

Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average17.71%17.71%17.57%
Low interest14.66%14.67%14.61%
Cash back17.63%17.63%17.55%
Balance transfer15.58%15.59%16.77%
Business15.55%15.55%15.24%
Student17.69%17.69%17.79%
Airline17.49%17.50%17.37%
Rewards17.49%17.50%17.46%
Instant approval20.22%20.22%20.06%
Bad credit25.24%25.24%24.99%
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: August 21, 2019

What’s up next?

In Rate Report

Credit card interest rates chart

See key rates data from our weekly survey of card APRs covering 2007-2019

Published: August 21, 2019

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: August 21st, 2019
Business
15.55%
Airline
17.49%
Cash Back
17.63%
Reward
17.49%
Student
17.69%

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