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Retailers’ Credit Card Rates Hit Record High

APRs higher, but rewards remain compelling to customers

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The average annual percentage rate (APR) for retailer-branded credit cards hit a record high of 26.72 percent, up from 24.35 percent last year, according to CreditCards.com’s annual survey on such cards. By comparison, the average APR for a general-purpose credit card sits at 22.66 percent.

Assuming cardholders make only the minimum payments each month, these higher average APRs are potentially costing retail cardholders about $1.6 billion in additional interest charges, Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com, said in a news release. That’s based on outstanding balances for retailer-branded credit cards totaling $64.9 billion as of August 2022, according to the Equifax credit bureau.

Eleven cards in this year’s study have maximum APRs of 30.74 percent, including the Speedy Rewards Mastercard and the Kroger Rewards World Elite Mastercard. (Some consumers who sign up for those cards can qualify for lower rates, depending on their creditworthiness.)

Rossman added that retailers’ cards “aren’t all bad.” For those who pay off their balances each month, there are obvious benefits that keep customers interested.

“Assuming you can pay your bills in full and avoid interest, the rewards can be compelling if you’re loyal to the store,” said Rossman, citing examples such as 5 percent cash back at Amazon.com, Best Buy and Lowe’s.

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