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Rate Report

Average credit card interest rates: Week of August 12, 2020

The average credit card APR stands at 16.03% for the seventh straight week

Summary

Credit card issuers left interest rates on brand-new credit card offers alone this week, according to CreditCards.com’s Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

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The average credit card interest rate is 16.03%.

Advertised APRs on consumer credit card offers remained unchanged again this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.

None of the lenders tracked by CreditCards.com advertised new interest rates. As a result, the national average APR for brand-new cards remained just a few basis points above 16% for the seventh week in a row.

See related: How do credit card APRs work?

Consumers can count on lower APRs for many cards

Interest rates on new card offers are currently near a three-year-low. Until this spring, average rates hovered well above 16% for nearly 33 consecutive months before dropping below 16% in May for the first time in years.

Compared to this time last year, the average card APR is especially low. On Aug. 12, 2019, for example, the average credit card APR stood at 17.74% – 1.71 percentage points lower than it stands now.

Meanwhile, many lenders have cut rates by an even more dramatic amount after matching the Federal Reserve’s 2.5 percentage-point rate cut between July 2019 and March 2020.

Among the nation’s biggest lenders, for example:

  • Bank of America advertises at least 13 cards with minimum APRs under 15%. A year ago, by contrast, Bank of America’s signature low interest credit card advertised a 15.24% APR, while many of its rewards cards charged 16% to 17% or more.
  • Chase advertises at least four general purpose cards with rates below 15%. A year ago, none of the general purpose cards Chase advertised online carried rates below 15%. Instead, several cards charged APRs as high as 17% to 18%. One of its most famous cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, charged a minimum APR of 19.24%. The same card now advertises a minimum APR of just 16.99%.
  • American Express advertises at least four cards with APRs well below 15%. The APRs on the American Express Cash Magnet® Card and the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, for example, start at 13.99%. Meanwhile, the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express* advertises an APR as low as 12.99%.

Average rates on existing credit cards have also fallen thanks to the Federal Reserve’s big rate cuts. According to the Fed’s G.19 consumer credit report, for example, the average credit card being used to carry a balance advertises a 15.78% APR. In 2019, by contrast, the average credit card account with a balance charged a 16.98% APR.

Credit card rates are likely to remain low for some time since the Fed is unlikely to raise its benchmark interest rate anytime soon. The federal funds rate influences a wide variety of loans, including credit cards, mortgages and car loans, and the Fed has historically used a low federal funds rate to help stimulate the economy by encouraging consumer borrowing.

*All information about the Amex EveryDay Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. This card is no longer available through CreditCards.com.

Average credit card interest rates this week

Avg. APR Last week 6 months ago
National average16.03%16.03%17.30%
Low interest12.83%12.83%14.08%
Cash back16.09%16.09%17.32%
Balance transfer13.93%13.93%15.45%
Business13.91%13.91%14.95%
Student16.12%16.12%18.58%
Airline15.48%15.48%16.91%
Rewards15.82%15.82%17.11%
Instant approval18.65%18.65%19.56%
Bad credit24.43%24.43%25.37%
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 12, 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.

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% 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.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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Credit Card Rate Report Updated: August 12th, 2020
Business
13.91%
Airline
15.48%
Cash Back
16.09%
Reward
15.82%
Student
16.12%

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