Average credit card interest rate for September 2020


The median interest rate of all credit cards in the Investopedia Card Database for September 2020.

The median credit card interest rate for all credit cards in the Investopedia database is currently 19.49%, based on the average advertised rates across several hundred most popular card offers of the market. Investopedia’s average rate data differs significantly from the overall average credit card rates tracked by the Federal Reservese(the Fed), which was recently estimated at 14.52% for June 2020, due to the fact that the Fed samples a relatively small number of banks and only considers the low end of the interest rate range announced by card issuers. Since the average FICO credit score in the United States is 703 according to Experianse, Investopedia believes it is more accurate to follow the median median of the advertised rate bands because a credit score of 703 would not qualify for the best available rates, as the average Fed rates suggest.

Key points to remember

  • The median interest rate available from the Investopedia database of over 300 cards is 19.49%
  • Credit card interest rates are largely determined by the credit standing of the applicant
  • The best credit card rates are only for those with excellent credit

Credit card rates are expected to remain relatively stable for the foreseeable future as most card issuers use variable interest rates that are indexed to the rate. Federal Reserve Prime Rate. After lowering rates twice in the second half of 2019 and then again in April 2020, the Federal Reserve does not plan to immediately make further changes to its benchmark federal funds interest rate, which is the basis of the prime rate. However, if the pandemic continues to negatively impact consumer spending and the economy in general, the pressure could mount for another reduction before the end of the year. A wide variety of consumer loans, including credit cards, are linked to movements in the federal funds rate, which is the mechanism the Fed uses to boost or slow the size of lending depending on economic conditions.

Several factors influence how individual credit card rates are set, the most important being credit quality, those with excellent credit receive the lowest rates and those with no or bad credit. receive the highest rates. Other factors include the type of credit card and the risk-based pricing policies of the specific credit card issuer.

Investopedia tracks average advertised rates for new applicants, which are typically shown as a range for each card product, across more than 300 card offerings, which are shown below, broken down by credit quality, card type and card issuer.

Interest rates by type of credit quality

Different ranges of credit quality may vary depending on the type of score used, but the most popular credit score used by credit card lenders is the FICO score.

Different ranges of credit quality may vary depending on the type of score used, but the most popular credit score used by credit card lenders is the FICO score. Credit quality is defined according to the FICO score ranges for each level of credit quality:

FICO Credit Score Ranges
Excellent 740-850
Good 670-739
Fair 580-669
Bad / No credit 350-579

For those who need to build or replenish their credit, it is essential to start actively using credit responsibly, which always means paying bills on time and keeping usage below 30% of lines of credit. . A secured credit card can be a good place to start if you don’t already have credit in your name. It can take time, but responsible use of credit can produce positive results after as little as six months and build up over time.

Interest rate by type of credit card

  • Awards: Credit cards that offer points, miles, or cash back on purchases
  • Student: Credit Cards Designed for Limited Credit History and Student Credit Education Needs
  • Secured: Credit cards that require a security deposit that serves as the initial line of credit
  • Business: Credit cards designed for small business owners that offer separation of business expenses, working capital, and often rewards and discounts on business-related categories of purchases.

Interest rate by issuer

Credit card issuers have different risk-based pricing policies that cause variations in the interest rate ranges they advertise and ultimately assign to customers based on the credit scores of approved applicants.

Prime rate trend

Credit card interest rates are primarily indexed to the prime rate with a margin that varies with the level of card product and the credit standing of each account holder. The prime rate currently stands at 3.25%, the lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2015, and has been adjusted downward from its decade-high 5.50% reached in 2019 due to Federal Reserve stimulus measures in the third and fourth quarters of 2019 and again in April 2020.

Trend in failure rate

Credit card default rates, defined as accounts past due 90 days or more, have been below 3% in recent years and have declined by nearly 30 basis points between Q1 and Q2, possibly in due to the decrease in card spending during the pandemic and the positive impact of stimulus payments on the repayment of card debt.

Credit card debt trend

Total consumer revolving credit card debt fell below $ 1,000 billion in the last quarter for the first time since 2017, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on consumer credit card spending. consumption and outstanding credit card debt.


Investopedia tracks the rates of each credit card on more than 300 cards offered to the public by 32 of the country’s largest banks and issuers. Most credit card rates are advertised as a range from low to high depending on the credit score of the applicant. By determining the average rates by credit quality, card type, card type or card issuer, Investopedia calculates the average midpoint of the advertised interest rate ranges and also calculates the average of the lower and upper ends of the rates expressed in forks.

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