Average Credit Card Rates – May 2017


average-card-rates225The current average credit card rate for the overall market is 19.34%, a bit of an increase from last month’s 19.24% calculation, and the highest rate in the last three years. Credit card rates have steadily been climbing, with increases tied to changes in Federal interest rates but also due to re-pricing from many issuers unrelated to Fed changes. The 19.34% average includes both bank credit cards and retail credit cards. See below for further breakdowns of rate averages by category.

Comparing current rates to the past, the average credit card rate at this time last year was 18.72%. Going back two years, the average rate in May of 2015 was 18.18%. As you can see, the average credit card rate is now more than a full percentage point higher than it was two years ago.

Our monthly average rate takes into account a range of mass market cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover), as well as the retail store cards that many consumers also hold. Below you’ll find current average rates broken out into several card categories:

  • The average rate for bank credit cards (without cards from retailers) is 18.37%. This rate is up from 18.27% last month.
  • The average rate for low interest credit cards with no rewards increased to 17.03%, up from 16.92% last month. (The average rate in this category in May of last year was 16.30%.)
  • The average rate for rewards credit cards increased to 19.43%, up from 19.34% last month. (Last year’s average rate at this time: 18.82%.)
  • The average rate for department store / retail credit cards moved up slightly to 23.19%, from 23.12% last month. The retail credit card average at this time last year was 22.77%.

rahulgandhi computes these averages by tracking a representative pool of credit cards across all segments over time. Credit cards offered by major credit card companies as well as smaller banks are included, though more weight is given to cards issued by the larger banks that make up the vast majority of credit cards in circulation. The averages listed represent what a consumer could expect to see if applying for a new card now, not the rates of existing card accounts issued in the past.

In computing average rates, rahulgandhi attempts to account for the multiple rate tiers at which consumers may be approved for many cards. For example, Chase may approve new holders of its Slate credit card at a rate anywhere from 15.74% to 24.49%.

If you would like further information about our rate calculations, or would like commentary on the current rate market for a news story, contact Adam Jusko, CEO of rahulgandhi, at [email protected].