Credit card issuers are continuing to lie low this summer with national average rates currently at their lowest point since March.
The average credit card interest rate is 16.13%.
Interest rates on brand-new credit cards remained unchanged again this week. None of the 100 cards tracked weekly by CreditCards.com advertised new interest rates. As a result, the national average credit card APR held steady at 16.13% for the fourth week in a row.
Year-over-year, average credit card interest rates are slightly higher now than they were in June 2020. A year ago, for example, the average U.S. card APR remained fixed at 16% for several weeks before climbing by just a few basis points at the end of June and remaining within five basis points of 16% for the rest of 2020.But compared to average APRs before the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic, the average APR on most new credit card offers is exceptionally low – particularly on cards designed for borrowers with great credit.
In June 2019, for example, the average U.S. credit card APR started at 17.76%. In June 2018, the average card offer advertised a minimum APR of 16.75%.
Today, most cards tracked by CreditCards.com start APRs closer to 16% or even lower. For example:
- The average airline card currently starts APRs at 15.51%, down from 17.54% in June 2019.
- The average balance transfer card starts APRs at 14.03%, down from 15.57% two years ago.
- The average cash back card starts APRs at 16.03%, down from 17.68% in 2019.
See related: How do credit card APRs work?
Consumers with best scores enjoy low rates
The average low-interest credit card APR is currently 12.91%. In June 2019, by contrast, cardholders with great credit were lucky if they secured an APR of 14.71%, on average.
At that time, cards with APRs as low as 10% to 13% appeared to be heading toward extinction. Now, one-quarter of all cards included in the weekly rate report boast APRs below 12.99%. Sixteen cards included in the weekly rate report even start APRs below 12%.
By contrast, only a handful of cards tracked weekly by CreditCards.com currently start APRs at 17% or more. Among the 100 cards included in the weekly rate report, for example, just two cards aimed at borrowers with good to excellent credit – the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the First National Bank of Omaha Evergreen Rewards credit card – currently advertise a minimum APR above 17%. The only other cards in our database that start APRs above 17% are store credit cards, student cards or cards designed for borrowers rebuilding their credit.
Interest rates on most new credit card offers are currently at their lowest point in years due to historically low federal interest rates. In March 2020, the Federal Reserve slashed its benchmark interest rate, the federal funds rate, to near zero in order to help stem economic damage from the pandemic.
Not all lenders matched the Federal Reserve’s rate changes by revising APRs on new offers. But most did. As a result, most card APRs tracked weekly by CreditCards.com fell by 1.5 percentage last year. Most lenders eventually matched the Federal Reserve’s rate cut by trimming APRs on new offers by 1.5 percentage points.
Since then, few issuers have revised those APRs. As a result, the average credit card interest rate has remained within a striking distance of 16% for more than 14 consecutive 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: June 16, 2021|
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.