For the third week in a row, the national average card APR remained at its highest point in just over a year. And Wells Fargo removed from its website one of its key rewards credit cards.
The average credit card interest rate is 16.15%.
The average APR for brand-new cards didn’t budge this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report. As a result, the national average card APR remained at a one-year high for the third straight week.
Interest rates on new card offers are currently at their highest point since March 2020. But compared to the APRs that lenders advertised before the coronavirus pandemic, the national average card APR is still unusually low. As a result, borrowers are continuing to see lower rates, on average, than they had previously seen in years.
Before last year’s COVID-related shutdowns, for example, the average card APR hovered above 17%. In 2019, average rates peaked closer to 18%, hitting an all-time record high of 17.8% in July. In fact, until last year, the average card APR hadn’t come close to 16% since 2017.But after the Federal Reserve cut rates by a point-and-a-half in March 2020, most lenders eventually matched the federal rate changes by the same amount. The average card APR has remained within striking distance of 16% ever since.
Not all lenders tracked by CreditCards.com are advertising lower APRs, though. So not all borrowers are benefiting from lower rates.
For example, some lenders, such as Capital One, chose not to match the Federal Reserve’s point-and-a-half rate cut. Other lenders did match federal rate changes, but then reversed those changes by increasing APRs on select cards. As a result, some cards are still just as pricey now as they were more than a year ago. A small number of cards are even more expensive.
Meanwhile, a recent analysis by CreditCards.com found that the average net interest rate (which is the interest lenders charge minus the prime rate) has actually increased this year. That means some lenders are collecting more net interest than they did before the prime rate fell, even if their APRs haven’t changed.
See related: How credit card APRs work
Wells Fargo takes the Propel card offline
Every week CreditCards.com checks the APRs of a representative sample of 100 U.S. credit cards.
This week, none of the cards included in the weekly rate report advertised new interest rates. However, one card checked weekly by CreditCards.com disappeared this week. As a result, CreditCards.com replaced the card in our 100-card database with a similar travel card.
Wells Fargo pulled its travel rewards card, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card, offline this month. As a result, borrowers are no longer able to apply for the card online.
It’s not clear, though, if Wells Fargo is pulling the Propel card altogether or is simply pausing applications in preparation for a relaunch.
If Wells Fargo does discontinue the Propel American Express card, the change will be notable. The Propel card was once one of Wells Fargo’s most generous rewards credit cards. Now, the lender advertises just three points rewards cards, including the Wells Fargo Rewards card and the Wells Fargo Visa Signature card*.
Apple introduces new perks for the Apple credit card
Meanwhile, another lender tracked by CreditCards.com also made big changes this week. On Tuesday, Apple and Goldman Sachs introduced an unusual perk to the Apple Card: a family plan option that makes co-owning a credit card with a spouse or child much simpler.
The program, dubbed Apple Card Family, allows Apple card holders to easily add family members to their accounts as full owners, rather than just authorized users. As a result, payments made to the Apple card will also be added to family members’ credit reports.
Assuming the family continues to keep the credit card account current and pay all their bills on time, joint ownership of an Apple card could help some family members with less credit experience successfully build credit and improve their scores.
Co-signed credit card accounts, such as the Apple Card Family plan, aren’t a new invention. However, not very many lenders allow cardholders to add co-signers. So Apple card’s new family program could still be a game changer for some cardholders.
College students under the age of 21, for example, are especially likely to benefit since it will give them an opportunity to share a card with their parents or with another qualified family member and start building their credit at a younger age.
Apple will also allow cardholders to add kids as young as 13 to their Apple card account. However, unlike older family members, those kids will be “participants,” rather than full Apple card owners. Technically, kids under 18 are not allowed to sign up for a personal Apple credit card. But lenders do sometimes allow parents to add underage kids as authorized users.
*All information about the Wells Fargo Visa Signature card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. This offer is no longer available on our site.
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: April 21, 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.