Credit card interest rates are up, but fees are down

HOUSTON - The average credit card interest rate is 17percent, up from 15.22 percent two years ago, according to’s weekly rate report. Interestingly, other credit card fees have actually fallen – especially foreign transaction fees. 

The average credit card charges 5.5 potential fees, down from 5.9 a year ago. The most common fees are for late payments (charged by 98 of the 100 popular cards that surveyed), cash advances (97 cards), balance transfers (79) and returned payments (78).

The number of cards charging foreign transaction fees has declined noticeably, from 61 cards in 2016 to 56 last year and 52 currently. “This is particularly interesting and suggests that issuers are competing for affluent travelers who value cards with no foreign transaction fees,” said industry analyst Ted Rossman. “Higher interest rates are giving issuers the freedom to be more selective with fees, which is great news for consumers who pay their bills in full and are willing to shop around for the best deals. Most fees can be avoided.”

Rossman adds that most fees can be avoided if the consumer simply pays on time and in full, but even if there is a slip-up, you should ask to see if you can get a fee waived. "About 85% of those who requested a waiver for a late fee received it. Obviously it's something that can happen on about once a year. If you have a good credit, about 56% of those who asked for a lower interest rate got one."

Some useful news with holiday shopping around the corner.

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