Is Your Credit Card Interest Higher Than The US Average? Find Out


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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.

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.

Interest Rates by Credit Quality Types

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.

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.

Interest Rates by Credit Card Types

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.

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.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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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Do You Make More Than The Average American at Your Age?

Do you make more than the average American at your age?

Life can happen fast. For example, the average cost of having a new baby can run parents approximately $3,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for pregnancy and delivery. And then there’s the cost of caring for a child, which some estimates put at more than $18,000 for raising them through age 17.

And, if that baby wants to get a college degree, you’re looking at a whole new realm of savings. The cost of a college education can range from about $44,000 to well past $150,000.

There’s one other big reason to save for the future: People are living longer. According to a 2023 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, only 18% of American workers are “very confident they will be able to retire comfortably.” Four in 10 workers say their lack of confidence is because they have little to no savings.

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More than half of Americans can’t cover an unexpected $1,000 expense, according to Bankrate’s 2023 emergency savings report. Only 43% say they could cover it.

And 37% of all Americans don’t have enough cash in savings to cover even a $400 emergency, the Federal Reserve found in its “Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2022” report.


The Fed’s latest Survey of Consumer Finances shows that the typical American household has $5,300 in a savings account at a bank or credit union. But this number varies greatly by age and number of people in a household. Here’s what savings by age looks like.

Average Savings for Those 35 and Younger

Americans under the age of 35 had an average savings account balance of $11,200, according to the Fed’s survey.

This is a large age bracket that can range from those just graduating high school to recent college grads to young professionals well into a decade’s worth of work.

It’s wise to have three to six months of expenses in an emergency fund. At the very least, aiming to have $1,000 handy in a savings account for unexpected expenses is recommended.

For those who have started their careers, employer-sponsored retirement funds such as an IRA or a 401(k) can be good options to start saving for long-term retirement goals.

It makes sense to contribute at least enough to get matching funds from an employer, if that’s an option with your company’s plan. For reference, the average 401(k) savings for someone between the ages of 20 and 29 in the Fed’s survey was $10,500.

(Learn more atPersonal Loan Calculator)

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Americans between the ages of 35 and 44 had an average savings account balance of $27,900, according to the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances. Those in this age bracket are now well into adulthood. At this stage of life, it’s prudent to have that three-to six-months’ worth of savings in an emergency fund, to cover the cost of everything from an accident to a lost job.

This may also be the time to think about diversifying a financial portfolio and possibly investing in the stock or bond market.

And, of course, keep contributing to your 401(k). For reference, the average 401(k) savings for someone between the ages of 30 and 39 was $38,400.

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People between the ages of 45 and 54 had an average savings account balance of $48,200, according to the Fed’s survey.

At this point, general financial advice dictates that a 50-year-old should have at least six times their annual salary if their intention is to retire at 67.

And by the age of 40 to 49, a person may want to have the average amount of retirement savings, which sits at $93,400.

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The Fed survey found that Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 had an average savings account balance of $57,800.

Since this is the time when most Americans are staring down retirement in a few years, it’s generally a good idea to boost retirement savings into high gear.

That’s because while younger people in 2023 are capped at contributing $22,500 a year to a 401(k) account, those over the age of 50 are allowed to contribute an additional $7,500.This is known as a catch-up contribution.

The average retirement savings account for a person between the ages of 50 and 59 is $160,000. It’s important to note that taking a withdrawal from such a plan before the age of 59 ½ could mean tax penalties.


This is when savings really peaks for the average American. The latest Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances found that Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 had an average savings account balance of $60,400.

However, that savings number does drop over time. According to the survey, Americans above the age of 75 had an average savings account balance of $55,600.

This underscores the importance of creating a retirement budget and sticking to it in order to have enough savings for as long as needed.

But before retirement, try to hit the average retirement savings amount for those ages 60 to 69, which was $182,100.

(Learn more atHome Affordability Calculator)


Median savings is different from average savings. The median is the number in the middle of all the other numbers, meaning half the numbers are higher and half are lower. So with median savings, half the people in an age category will have saved more and half will have saved less.

These are the median savings by age, according to the latest Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances:

  • Under 35: $3,240
  • 35-44: $4,710
  • 45-54: $5,620
  • 55-64: $6,400


What Americans have saved for emergencies, expenses, and other near-future goals is different from what they have in their retirement savings accounts, as you can see from all the information above. And it’s critical to have both types of savings at the same time.

And keep this in mind: As you get older, and closer to retirement, it’s important that your retirement savings grow even more. It’s a good idea to contribute the maximum amount allowed to your retirement accounts at this time, if you can. This is one of the ways to save for retirement.


Reaching specific savings goals doesn’t have to be complicated. It just means doing a bit of homework, strategizing, and staying diligent about personal finances.

The first step in saving more is to analyze current expenses to see what can be cut back on or cut out altogether to make more room for saving. This means creating a monthly personal budget and tracking current personal spending.

To track spending, a person could create an excel spreadsheet and list all expenditures by categories like groceries, phone bill, car expenses, housing, medical, entertainment and others over the course of a month, filling it in with every single dollar spent to see where the money is going. 

After the month is up, the next step is to look back on the expenditures list. Was there anything that surprised you? Do you need all those streaming subscriptions? How about that gym membership — did it actually get used? This is the time to get a little ruthless.

After figuring out what’s left, try implementing a general financial outline like the 50/30/20 rule. This means that approximately 50% of your after-tax income goes toward essential expenses like food and rent, while 30% goes toward discretionary expenses like nights out at the movies or concerts. The last 20% belongs to savings and retirement account goals.

Next, it’s time to get creative about saving even more for the future. This can be done by putting more cash into a savings or retirement account via direct deposit right from a paycheck.

Those looking to save a few more bucks every month could also do so by getting rid of unnecessary expenses. But, instead of pocketing that cash, consider using mobile deposit to direct that cash right to savings.

Still feeling the pinch and don’t really have room to save more from a budget? Working part-time for, say, a ride-sharing company could allow you to set your own hours and earn extra income based on how much time you can dedicate to it. Other options might include freelance work in photography, writing, or other creative arts.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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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.

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