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.
Interest rates on new credit card offers didn’t budge this week, leaving the national average card APR just above 16% for the sixth week.
None of the lenders included in the weekly rate report advertised new interest rates. As a result, average rates on new card offers remained 1.77 percentage points below year-ago levels for another week.
The upshot for consumers? New cardholders continue to have a much better chance than they did a year ago of getting assigned an APR that’s well below average. Among the 100 cards tracked weekly by CreditCards.com, for example:
- Nearly three quarters advertise minimum APRs under 16%.
- Roughly 40% advertise APRs under 14%.
- More than a dozen cards advertise rates as low as 5.99% to 11.99%.
A year ago, by contrast, only a small fraction of cards charged APRs under 14%. Meanwhile, the only issuers tracked by CreditCards.com offering rates under 12% on general purpose cards were credit unions.
See related: How do credit card APRs work?
Lenders show few signs of movement on credit card APRs
Consumers are likely to see low rates for a while.
After an eventful spring, most credit card offers appear to have settled at a new normal – at least for now. Since the end of May, for example, only a few issuers have hiked APRs on select cards.
- American Express increased the APR on one of its signature no-annual-fee cash back cards, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, by 1 percentage point.
- Citi increased the APR on its most generous balance transfer card, the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, by the same amount.
- Wells Fargo increased APRs by half a point to 1 point on a few of its signature cards, including the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card*, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card* and the Wells Fargo Platinum card*.
Aside from matching federal rate cuts, most lenders tracked by CreditCards.com have also refrained from trimming interest rates. So even though consumers are less likely to see higher rates on new offers, they’re also less likely to see lower APRs on brand new cards.
In fact, most lenders haven’t independently revised rates on new card offers at all since before the pandemic. Instead, the majority of lenders tracked by CreditCards.com matched the Fed’s March cuts and then left APRs untouched for the rest of the spring and summer.
The average card APR could fall, though, if more lenders match the Fed’s rate cuts. Although the majority of lenders tracked by CreditCards.com have cut rates in line with the Fed’s 1.5 percentage point rate cut, a few high-profile issuers such as Capital One have so far held out.
The last time Capital One revised the APRs on its signature rewards cards, such as the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, for example, was back in January. At that time, Capital One cut rates in tandem with a quarter-point rate cut from the Federal Reserve.
It’s possible Capital One may not cut rates this time, though, making it more likely the national average will remain near 16% for a while. Lenders are required to match federal rate changes on open credit card accounts. However, they are free to set rates on new offers as they wish.
*All information about the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa card, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card and the Wells Fargo Platinum card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. These cards are no longer available through CreditCards.com.
Average credit card interest rates this week
|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: August 5, 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:
- 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.