The average APR on brand-new credit card offers remained unchanged this week according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
The average credit card interest rate is 16.16%.
The average APR on brand-new cards remained unchanged this week, according to the CreditCards.com Weekly Credit Card Rate Report.
None of the cards tracked weekly by CreditCards.com advertised new interest rates. As a result, borrowers searching for a new credit card continued to enjoy relatively low rates – particularly on cards designed for borrowers with excellent credit.
Pandemic-era rates hold steady on the most competitive cardsWhile the U.S. inches closer to a post-pandemic normal, APRs on most new card offers are mostly remaining frozen in place, according to CreditCards.com data.
As a result, cardholders shopping for a new rewards card to help save up for post-pandemic travel or other entertainment opportunities shouldn’t have much trouble finding a low rate card.
Among the most competitive rewards cards, most start APRs well below 16%. For example:
- The average travel card APR starts at 15.51%, according to CreditCards.com data.
- The average rewards card APR starts at 15.90%.
- The average low interest card APR starts at 12.96%.
APRs on cash back cards are slightly higher, on average. But that’s due in part to the diversity of cards that offer cash back. For example, several cards designed for borrowers with new or damaged credit now offer cash back, including multiple secured credit cards.
Among the cards included in the weekly rate report, for example:
- The Discover it® Secured Credit Card offers 1% to 2% cash back. But the only APR it offers is 22.99%.
- The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card offers unlimited 1.5% back. But its APR is 26.99%.
- Similarly, the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One also offers cash back. But it charges a 26.99% APR to every cardholder.
But the rates assigned to cardholders with lower scores are far higher than the APRs assigned to cardholders with excellent credit. Cardholders with the best scores, for example, may be able to secure an especially low APR on a cash back card this summer. For example:
- The Discover it® Cash Back card starts APRs at 11.99%.
- The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card starts rates at 13.99%.
- The APR on the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express also starts at 13.99%.
- The Chase Freedom Flex℠ card advertises a minimum APR of 14.99%.
In addition, lenders are also continuing to introduce brand-new credit cards with similarly low interest rates.
Bank of America, Citi and Wells Fargo chase cash back market
Cash back cards have long been popular with consumers. But the market for cash back cards is growing increasingly crowded as lenders tweak older card programs and launch new ones with brand-new rewards.
Flat-rate cash back cards and customized cash back programs are becoming especially competitive this year. But unlike in the past, card issuers are largely refraining from tacking on much higher APRs when they introduce new cards with different rewards.
Bank of America, for example, announced this week that it is launching a brand-new unlimited 1.5% cash back card called the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card. The new cash back card offers the same 13.99% minimum APR as the customized cash rewards card, along with its simpler rewards structure.
Similarly, Wells Fargo introduced a brand-new 2% cash back card this summer called the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card. The new card advertises a slightly higher APR than the cash back card it replaced, but it’s not much higher. The new Active Cash card starts APRs at 14.99%.
Meanwhile, Citi also launched a new, low-rate cash back card this summer. It jumped into the personalized rewards space with the brand-new Citi Custom Cash℠ Card. Like other cash back cards designed for borrowers with good to excellent credit, the Custom Cash card keeps minimum rates much lower than what issuers once offered, with APRs starting at 13.99%.
Only borrowers with the best credit can qualify for such low interest rates, though. Most cards with low starting APRs cap maximum rates at 20% or more.
However, borrowers who are interested in a lower rate card, but are having a hard time qualifying for one may soon have another option.
Chase launches card for those who want low rates, but can’t get them
Chase jumped into the low-rate card space this week with its own lower rate card offer. The new Chase Slate Edge℠ card is a plain vanilla balance transfer card with a minimum APR starting at 14.99% and a maximum APR of 23.74%.
But unlike many of the cards that launched this summer, the Slate Edge is designed for borrowers who don’t necessarily have top scores right now but want them. In a press release, Chase spokeswoman Kristen Bowdoin noted that the new Slate Edge card is designed for borrowers who haven’t yet reached their financial goals but are eager to do so quickly.
“We’re giving cardmembers an edge to tackle ‘what’s next’ on their financial to-do list and put their best foot forward,” Bowdoin noted in the release.
To help cardholders reach their goals, Chase designed the Slate Edge card so that it gets less expensive over time – as long as cardholders earn it.
For example, cardholders who remain current with their payments and spend at least $1,000 can potentially get 2% shaved from their card APR after just one year. If they continue to pay their bills on time, they may qualify for even more rate cuts.
According to Chase, Slate Edge cardholders will qualify for interest rate reductions until their APR reaches 9.74% plus prime (which would be 12.99% today). That’s more than 3 percentage points lower than the average new card APR.
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: July 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.