Average Credit Card Interest Rate in America Today
The average credit card interest rate in America today is 24.56% — the highest since LendingTree began tracking rates monthly in 2019.
Every month, LendingTree reviews about 200 of the most popular credit cards in the U.S. — from more than 50 issuers — to comprehensively look at the state of credit card interest rates. We publish our findings here.
What’s the average interest rate on new credit card offers?
Average interest rates on new credit card offers in the U.S. in November 2023
|Category||Minimum APR||Maximum APR||Average||Previous month|
|Average APR for all new card offers||21.13%||27.98%||24.56%||24.46%|
|0% balance transfer cards||18.75%||27.86%||23.30%||23.20%|
|Cash back cards||20.97%||27.69%||24.33%||24.26%|
|Travel rewards cards||20.94%||28.71%||24.82%||24.82%|
|Airline credit cards||21.24%||29.33%||25.29%||25.29%|
|Hotel credit cards||21.73%||29.43%||25.58%||25.58%|
|Low-interest credit cards||13.69%||22.52%||18.11%||17.90%|
|Grocery rewards cards||20.56%||28.15%||24.35%||24.35%|
|Gas rewards cards||20.99%||27.98%||24.49%||24.46%|
|Dining rewards cards||20.70%||28.43%||24.56%||24.54%|
|Student credit cards||19.56%||27.85%||23.70%||23.70%|
|Secured credit cards||27.06%||27.06%||27.06%||27.06%|
Hoping to save on interest with a new credit card? See our picks for the best 0% APR credit cards with long intro periods.
November marks the 21st consecutive month in which APRs on new credit card offers have risen, and the jump was the largest since August. That growth comes despite the Federal Reserve opting not to raise rates at its most recent meeting, held Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. It was the second straight meeting with no increase and the third in the past four, the only exception being the July 25 and 26 meeting.
For the first time since the Fed began raising rates regularly in early 2022, it seems unlikely that any more rate hikes are coming in the near future. While it’s possible that the Fed could opt to increase rates at its final 2023 meeting on Dec. 12 and 13 or at a meeting in early 2024, there’s a growing sentiment among Fed observers that that won’t happen. Given that the Fed has raised rates 11 times since the start of 2022 — seven times in 2022 and four times so far in 2023 — that would be very, very welcome news for credit cardholders. However, as this month shows, a pause in rate hikes from the Fed doesn’t mean that credit card rates won’t continue to rise in the near future.
Important: Most credit card issuers don't offer one rate to everyone>
Issuers offer a range of possible rates based on whether you have good or bad credit. The better your credit, the lower the rate you can typically expect. But that’s not guaranteed as issuers consider various factors when approving you for a new card account.
Learn more about how to increase your chances of instant approval for credit cards.
If you have really good credit now, the average APR you can expect to be offered is 21.13%. If you have really crummy credit, the average APR offered is 27.98%. That’s a big difference.
Remember, however, that those are just averages. Individual offers can go well lower or higher. In fact, we’ve seen an enormous spike in the number of cards with maximum APRs of 29.99% or higher as the Fed has raised rates.
- In September 2019, just 2% of the roughly 200 cards we reviewed had possible APRs of 29.99% or higher (and just 1% reached 30.00% or higher).
- In November 2023, more than 1 in 3 cards (36%) reviewed had possible APRs of 29.99% or higher, while 12% had APRs of 30.00% or higher.
Historically, 30.00% has been a threshold that very few credit card issuers have been willing to cross. That has clearly changed in the past year.
The good news is that the average FICO Score of Americans in 2022 was 714, according to Experian — the same as in 2021. That means most Americans may be more likely to qualify for lower interest rates. For those who don’t, however, things get expensive in a hurry.
The type of card makes a difference in what APR you can get>
The type of card you shop for also makes a difference in what APR to expect. For example, we found that cash back cards and 0% balance transfer cards tend to have lower APRs than travel rewards cards. (That’s true even when you exclude the 0% offer.) Meanwhile, secured credit cards — which require a deposit to open and are typically held by folks new to credit or rebuilding it — have the highest APRs overall.
Learn more about our picks for the best cash back credit cards and why we chose them.
What’s the average interest rate on current credit card accounts?
Average interest rate on current credit card accounts
|All credit card accounts||21.19%|
|Accounts assessed interest||22.77%|
Each quarter, the Federal Reserve releases data on cards currently in Americans’ wallets. It looks at the average interest rate for accounts assessed interest — those that weren’t paid in full at the end of the month — and across all credit card accounts.
It’s important to distinguish between average assessed interest and interest across all credit card accounts because more than half of active credit cardholders carry a balance. The average APR for all accounts in the third quarter of 2023 is 21.19%. That’s a significant increase from the second quarter, when the average was 20.68%. (In the quarter before that, it was 20.09%.) Meanwhile, the average for accounts accruing interest is higher at 22.77% — up substantially from 22.16% in the second quarter. Both of those numbers are the highest they’ve been since the Fed began tracking in 1994.
The latter number for accounts accruing interest is the one that matters, though. After all, a credit card interest rate is a moot point if you pay your bill every month since interest never has the chance to accrue. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality for most Americans. The truth is that 2023 has been a brutal year for credit cardholders, and the bad news on interest rates isn’t likely to stop coming anytime soon.
How have credit card interest rates changed over the years?
In recent years, we’ve seen significant movement in interest rates, largely driven by the Federal Reserve. Rates rose significantly beginning in 2015 and continued to do so until 2019. The following year, the Fed dramatically lowered interest rates in response to the economic turmoil at the beginning of the pandemic. Last year, however, the Fed reversed course, raising rates seven times. There have been another four hikes in 2023.
Before 2015, credit card rates were largely stable for several years, following the introduction of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, better known as the Credit CARD Act. The pro-consumer law, signed by former President Barack Obama, brought enormous change to the credit card space. It set limits on when issuers could raise cardholders’ rates, changed how payments must be applied to balances, restricted certain fees and much more. Those changes forced issuers to scramble to figure out how to recoup the revenues lost under the CARD Act. As a result, credit card rates became volatile for several years — one card even famously featured a 79.90% APR for a short time — as banks determined what the market could bear.
Ultimately, all the changes led to overall higher credit card interest rates but relative stability, even as the nation emerged from the Great Recession. That stability lasted until the Fed began raising rates in 2015. Those hikes helped push rates to the high levels we see today.
What can I do if my interest rate is too high?
These are certainly unusual times. Credit card interest rates are climbing, thanks to rate increases from the Federal Reserve. While the Fed has taken its foot off the gas when it comes to rate hikes, there may still be more to come, unfortunately. Plus, even if the Fed stops raising rates, credit card rates are likely to continue to edge higher, at least for a little while. That means it’s perhaps more important than ever that you start knocking down your credit card debt in a big way. Obviously, if the pandemic has upended your financial life, that may not be possible. However, if you still consider yourself healthy financially, one of the best things you can do is pay down your debt to free up more cash for a rainy day fund.
You also have more power over your credit card’s APR than you realize. Here are two concrete steps that can significantly impact your credit card’s interest rates.
Get a 0% balance transfer credit card
It may seem counterintuitive to fight credit card debt by getting another credit card, but 0% offers can be a godsend, and banks are eager to lend. Many cards offer 0% introductory periods of 12 to 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, with some even offering 18 to 21 months. If you’re knee-deep in card debt, a yearlong reprieve from interest on a transferred balance can make a huge difference. Make sure that you understand all the fees, deadlines and rules associated with the card before applying. These cards were hard to come by in the early days of the pandemic. Banks weren’t eager to take on transferred balances when so many people were out of work or struggling financially. They saw it as too risky. However, banks’ appetite for these cards has returned in a big way, so there are plenty of offers to choose from when shopping around.
Ask your issuer for a lower rate
An April 2023 LendingTree survey found that 76% of cardholders who asked to lower their credit card’s APR were successful. The average reduction was about 6 percentage points. That’s a big deal! The problem is that just 19% of cardholders asked. The best way to go about it is to find credit card offers that you would qualify for at sites like LendingTree or in your snail mail, and use those to frame your negotiations. Say something like, “I love my card, but it has a 24.00% APR and I’ve just been offered a card with an 18.00% APR. Will you match it?” There’s a good chance that they’ll work with you. Just know that you’ll have to make that call and ask for it. They likely won’t come to you.
Looking for a way to free up more resources to pay off your credit card? Try a debt consolidation loan to help with paying off your other debt faster.
Methodology: How we evaluated credit card APRs
For new credit card offer APRs, LendingTree examined the online terms and conditions for about 200 credit cards from more than 50 issuers, including banks and credit unions. To gather the data, we noted the standard purchase APRs listed for each card on each issuer’s or retailer’s website. (Introductory or promotional rates aren’t included in our averages.)
For current credit card account APRs, we used data from the latest G.19 consumer credit report from the Federal Reserve.