Average Credit Card Interest Rates: Updated for 2024

By Sarah Li Cain · March 15, 2024 · 7 minute read

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Average Credit Card Interest Rates: Updated for 2024

The Federal Reserve’s recent data says the average credit card interest rate is 21.47%, which is a high number by most standards. If you never carry a balance or take out cash advances, it may not be a big deal for you, but if you do, it’s worth paying attention to the average credit interest rate. Doing so could help you anticipate and potentially budget for increased interest payments.

Here, you’ll learn more about credit card interest rates and how they can impact your financial life.

What Is the Average Credit Card Interest Rate?

The average interest rate for credit cards is 21.47%, as mentioned above, as of the start of 2024. Rates have been steadily increasing in recent years — in November 2021, the average rate for credit cards was 14.51%, and back in November 2017, for example, it was 13.16%.

Keep in mind, however, that the interest rate for your credit card could be higher or lower than this average depending on factors such as your credit profile, given how credit cards work. So what’s a good annual percentage rate (APR) for you may be different from what a good APR for a credit card is for someone else, as you’ll learn in more detail below.

Interest Rates by Credit Quality Types

Credit card interest rates, or the APR on a credit card, tend to vary depending on an applicant’s credit score. The average interest rate for credit cards tends to increase for those who have lower credit scores, according to the CFPB’s most recent Consumer Credit Card Market Report.

The report measures what’s called an effective interest rate — meaning, the total interest charged to a cardholder at the end of the billing cycle.

Credit Quality

Effective Interest Rate

Deep subprime (a score of 579 or lower) 23%
Subprime (a score of 580-619) 22%
Near prime (a score of 620-659) 20%
Prime (a score of 660-719) 18%
Prime plus (a score of 720-799) 15%
Super prime (800-850) 9%

What this table shows is that the lower your credit score, the more you will be paying in interest on balances you have on your credit cards (meaning, any amount that remains after you make your credit card minimum payment).

Keep in mind that these rates don’t include any fees that may also apply, such as those for balance transfers or late payments, which can further increase the cost of borrowing.

Recommended: Revolving Credit vs. Line of Credit, Explained

Interest Rates by Credit Card Types

Interest rates may vary depending on the type of credit card you carry. In general, platinum or premium credits have a higher APR — cards with higher interest rates tend to come with better features and benefits.


APR Range

No annual fee credit card 20.64% – 27.65%
Cash back credit card 21.06% – 27.78%
Rewards credit card 20.91% – 28.15%

Prime Rate Trend

The prime rate is the interest rate that financial institutions use to set rates for various types of loans, such as credit cards. Most consumer products use the prime rate to determine whether to raise, decrease, or maintain the current interest rate. That’s why for credit cards, you’ll see the rates are variable, meaning they can change depending on the prime rate.

As of March 6, 2024, the prime rate is 8.50%. On March 17, 2022, the prime rate was 3.50%. This can be considered an example of how variable this rate can be.

Delinquency Rate Trend

Credit card delinquency rates apply to accounts that have outstanding payments or are at least 90 days late in making payments. These rates have fluctuated based on various economic conditions. In many cases, rates are higher in times of financial duress, such as during the financial crisis in 2009, when it was at 6.61%.

As economic conditions rebound or the economy builds itself up, delinquency rates tend to go down, as consumers can afford to make on-time payments. According to the Federal Reserve, the delinquency rate for the fourth quarter in 2023 was 3.20%, up from 2.34% a year earlier and 1.63% for the same time period in 2021. This may be due to the pandemic, when consumers were more wary of discretionary spending or from negotiating payment plans with creditors.

Credit Card Debt Trend

Credit card debt has risen from its previous levels of $926 billion in 2019 and $825 billion at the end of 2020. It has climbed to $1.129 trillion for the fourth quarter of 2023, a new high.

This shows an ongoing surge in credit card debt, and these statistics can make individual cardholders think twice about their own balance and how to lower it.

Recommended: How Does Credit Card Debt Forgiveness Work?

Types of Credit Card Interest Rates

Credit cards have more than one type of interest rate. The credit card interest rate that applies may differ depending on how you use your card.

Purchase APR

The purchase APR is the interest rate that’s applied to balances from purchases made anywhere that accepts credit card payments. For instance, if you purchase a pair of sneakers using your credit card, you’ll be charged the purchase APR if you carry a balance after the statement due date.

Balance Transfer APR

A balance transfer APR is the interest rate you’ll be charged if you move a balance from one credit card to another. Many issuers offer a low introductory balance transfer APR for a predetermined amount of time.

Penalty APR

A penalty APR can kick in if you’re late on your credit card payment. This rate is usually higher than the purchase APR and can be applied toward future purchases as long as your account remains delinquent. This is why it’s always critical to make your credit card payment, even if you’re in the midst of requesting a credit card chargeback, for instance.

Cash Advance APR

A cash advance has its own separate APR that gets triggered when you use your card at an ATM or bank to withdraw cash, or if you use a convenience check from the issuer. The APR tends to be higher than the purchase APR.

Introductory APR

An introductory APR is an APR that’s lower than the purchase APR and that applies for a set amount of time. Introductory APRs may apply to purchases, balance transfers, or both.

For instance, you may get a 0% introductory APR for purchases you make for the first 18 months of account opening. After that, your APR will revert to the standard APR. (Note that the end of the introductory APR is completely unrelated to your credit card expiration date.)

Factors That Affect Interest Rate

When you apply for a credit card, you may notice that your interest rate is different from what was advertised by the issuer. That’s because there are several factors that affect your interest rate, which can make it higher or lower than the average credit card interest rate.

Credit Score

Your credit score determines how risky of a borrower you are, so your interest rate could reflect your creditworthiness. Lenders tend to charge higher interest rates for those who have lower scores. Your credit score can also influence whether your credit limit is above or below the average credit card limit.

Credit Card Type

The type of credit card may affect how much you could pay in interest. Different types of credit cards include:

•   Travel rewards credit cards

•   Student credit cards

•   Cash-back rewards credit cards

•   Balance transfer cards

Most likely, the more features you get, the higher the interest rate could be. Student credit cards may have lower interest rates, but that may not always be the case. That’s why it’s best to check the APR range of credit cards you’re interested in before submitting an application.

The Takeaway

The current average credit card interest rate is 21.47%, according to data from the Federal Reserve. However, your rate could be higher or lower than the average APR for credit cards based on factors such as your creditworthiness and the type of card you’re applying for. Your best bet is to pay off your entire balance each month on your credit card so you don’t have to worry about how high the interest rate for a credit card may be. That way, you can focus on features you’re interested in.

With whichever credit card you may choose, it’s important to understand its features and rates and use it responsibly.

Whether you're looking to build credit, apply for a new credit card, or save money with the cards you have, it's important to understand the options that are best for you. Learn more about credit cards by exploring this credit card guide.


What is the average credit card interest rate?

The average interest rate for credit cards is 21.47%, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve for the fourth quarter of 2023.

How do you get a low credit card interest rate?

You may be able to get a low credit card interest rate by building your credit score, as this will encourage lenders to view you as less risky. Otherwise, you can also aim to get a credit card with a low introductory rate, though these offers are generally reserved for those with good credit. Even if the APR is temporary, it could be beneficial depending on your financial goals.

What is a bad APR rate?

A bad APR is generally one that is well above the average credit card interest rate. However, what’s a good or bad APR for you will depend on your credit score as well as what type of card you’re applying for.

Photo credit: iStock/MicroStockHub

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.


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