The average credit card interest rate is 16.15%.
Credit card lenders left new card APRs unchanged again 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, the national average card APR remained at a more-than-one-year high for the fourth straight week.
Interest rates on new credit card offers are currently at their highest point since April 1, 2020. But despite higher APRs on some cards, most credit card offers tracked weekly by CreditCards.com havenât changed since last year. As a result, the average new card APR has hardly budged in months.
Exactly a year ago today, for example, the average card APR stood at 16.12% â just a few basis points lower than today’s 16.15% average. Similarly, the lowest APR average CreditCards.com has recorded all year is just 18 basis points lower than todayâs APR average.
Last fall, the average card APR dipped below 15.98% for the first time since June 2017. But despite slightly increasing since then, average card APRs are still near three-year-lows.
Overall, the average new card APR hasn’t budged by more than a fraction of a percentage point all year.
See related: How do credit card APRs work?
These days, splashy card changes are rare
Every week, CreditCards.com checks the APRs of a representative sample of 100 U.S. credit cards and compares them to the APRs lenders previously advertised.
Before 2020, APRs on new cards changed frequently â especially when lenders revamped a card’s rewards program or revised its secondary benefits.
When a lender introduces new credit card perks or substantially revises a card’s rewards program, it often boosts the card’s APR at the same time.
But lately, only a handful of lenders have made significant changes to a card’s rewards program or pricing. An even smaller number have made changes since the beginning of 2021.
Since Jan. 1, for example, just eight cards included in the weekly rate report have undergone a rate change. Meanwhile, four of those cards are from the same issuer.
In the first quarter of 2021, U.S. Bank hiked APRs on at least two consumer credit cards, including the Harley Davidson Visa Signature card and the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum Card, and two business credit cards. It also increased the APRs on two business credit cards. Unlike other lenders, U.S. Bank has been relatively active since the fall of 2020. Last year, for example, it increased the APRs on a number of key credit cards, including the U.S. Bank Secured Visa Card and the U.S. Bank Altitudeâ¢ Reserve Visa InfiniteÂ® Card.
But most banks tracked by CreditCards.com have been much quieter.
Among the 100 cards included in the weekly rate report, for example, just one other bank card has received a significant rate change since January. Bank of America lowered the starting APR on the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card for Students* and increased the card’s maximum APR. The bank also revised the non-student version of its no-annual-fee travel card; but that change didn’t affect the national average since it’s not included in the weekly calculation.
Meanwhile, the only other two cards advertising new rates this year are co-branded retail cards. The retailer L.L. Bean increased the APR on its co-branded Mastercard in February, while the energy giant Chevron increased the APR on the Texaco Techron Advantage Visa card earlier this month.
The information for the Bank of America Travel Rewards Card for Students has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
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 28, 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 cardâs 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 youâve been handling credit. However, even if youâre 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 â and your ability to win a lower rate â is your track record of making on-time payments. Lenders are more likely to trust you with a competitive APR â and other positive terms, such as a big credit limit â if you have a lengthy history of paying your bills on time.
- Keep your balances low.Â Lenders also want to see that you are responsible with your credit and donât overcharge. As a result, credit scores take into account the amount of credit youâre using, compared to how much credit youâve 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 youâve 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 youâve 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 doesnât close it.
- Call your lender. If youâve successfully owned a credit card for a long time, you may be able to convince your lender to lower your interest rate â especially if you have excellent credit. Reach out to your lender and ask if theyâd be willing to negotiate a lower APR.
- Monitor your credit report. Check your credit reports regularly to make sure youâre 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.