Average Retail Credit Card APR Reaches New Record High

Oct 31, 2023FinTech, News

Bankrate’s annual Retail Cards Study found that the average APR for retail credit cards reached a record high of 28.93 percent this year, up from 26.72 percent in 2022 and 24.35 percent in 2021. The average store-only credit card charges 30.24 percent, and the average co-branded credit card charges 27.64 percent, both of which are substantially higher than the national average for all credit cards, which is 20.72 percent.

“We used to see 30% as the high end for retail credit card APRs,” said Ted Rossman, Senior Industry Analyst at Bankrate.com. “But the market has blown past that threshold given the Fed’s aggressive series of interest rate hikes over the past year-and-a-half. Many retail credit cards now charge all of their balance-carrying customers rates in line with what we used to think of as figures reserved solely for a deep subprime audience.”

The highest retail credit card APR is 33.24 percent on the following cards: American Sports + Outdoors, Burlington, Good Sam Rewards, and Michaels. There are 16 retail cards that charge 32.24 percent to all cardholders with balances, including 13 store-only and 3 co-branded cards. Additionally, 53 of the 107 cards surveyed charge an average interest rate of over 30 percent.

The Amazon Secured Card has the lowest average APR at 10 percent, followed by the Military Star Card at 15.49 percent, though it is limited to military exchanges. The Bass Pro Shops CLUB Card charges almost 10 percent at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s, but up to 31.99 percent elsewhere.

Many retail cards use deferred interest as a promotional tactic. With a 0 percent interest promotion, cardholders must pay off the entire balance by the end of the term to avoid charges, or they will be charged all the interest that would have been accumulated.

“If you ever carry a balance, a retail credit card probably isn’t the best choice for you,” said Rossman.

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