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2016 Credit Card Landscape Report

Landscape 2016Not only do credit card offers regularly fluctuate in value, corresponding to changes in the economic climate and issuer strategy, but market-wide trends also reveal a great deal about the health of the U.S. consumer. Monitoring this information is therefore essential to finding the best deals and truly understanding the financial climate.

CardHub aims to provide the requisite insights by tracking interest rates, rewards and fees across credit segments and highlighting the most important trends in our quarterly landscape reports. Below you can check out our latest findings, including a breakdown of how rates are reacting to recent Federal Reserve activity.

Q2 Main Findings

Interest Rates

  • Relative to last quarter, interest rates are rising in the above-average-credit segments of the market, where issuers generate most of their revenue from finance charges. Rates are trending downward at the other end of the creditworthiness spectrum, where issuers rely more on fee-based revenue, with the “fair credit” segment seeing the biggest drop (3.86%) from the beginning of the year.
  • On average, credit card interest rates have increased by 0.24 basis points since December 2015, which exactly matches the Federal Reserve’s 0.25-basis point increase in its target rate.

Initial Perks (0% APRs & Rewards Bonuses)

  • Not only are interest-free introductory terms 18% longer for balance transfers than new purchases, but they’re followed by a regular APR that is three percentage points lower on average.

    This discrepancy, which began to emerge in Q4 2013, reinforces CardHub’s hypothesis that issuers are more intent on attracting the balances of consumers already mired in debt than incentivizing people to incur new debt in a recovering, yet uncertain economy.

  • The value of initial rewards bonuses offered in the form of points or miles seems to be stabilizing, having declined by 17.25% on a year-over-year basis but rising by 6.44% from the first quarter of the year. The time therefore seems to be right to take advantage of these offers, as they are still more than twice as valuable as they were in 2010.

Fees

  • The average annual fee fell by 2.26% during the second quarter, posting a 6.33% decrease year over year. It is now $16.43.
  • Foreign transaction fees continue to fall, declining by 6.82% on a year-over-year basis. At 2.05%, the average foreign transaction fee has now fallen by 19% since the beginning of 2011.
  • Credit card companies continue to exploit the weakness of cash-hungry customers, finishing Q2 2016 with a 66% increase in the average cash advance fee since the end of 2012. The average cash advance fee is now the greater of $14.71 or 4.01% of the amount withdrawn.

Complaints & Satisfaction

  • In Q2 2016, we saw an 11% decrease in the number of credit-card complaints from the record high registered in the first quarter of the year.
  • Despite declining for the past three quarters, “Collection” complaints are the most popular overall, by a wide margin, currently accounting for more than one-quarter of all credit card complaints.
  • Complaints related to “Rewards” and the “Payoff Process” increased the most from Q1 to Q2, rising by 31.1% and 22.1%, respectively. Meanwhile, complaints regarding “Fees” and “Delinquent Accounts” fell the most, dropping by 15.51% and 17.6%, respectively. These trends reflect the improving financial health of credit card users from Q1 to Q2.
  • Consumers were happiest with First National Bank of Omaha during the second quarter of 2016, with the institution earning a CardHub Satisfaction Score of 91.55. Synchrony Bank had the least pleased consumers, with a Satisfaction Score of 71.68.

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Interest Rates

Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 vs. Q2 Change
Excellent Credit 12.84%
(-0.23%)
13.02%
(0.46%)
13.08%
(2.43%)
13.08%
(2.43%)
0.00%
Good Credit 17.70%
(1.61%)
17.92%
(1.93%)
17.97%
(2.86%)
18.16%
(2.54%)
1.06%
Fair Credit 21.16%
(6.60%)
20.97%
(6.72%)
20.16%
(-0.98%)
21.47%
(5.71%)
6.50%
Secured Credit Cards 18.90%
(-0.94%)
19.49%
(3.29%)
19.35%
(2.76%)
18.79%
(0.00%)
-2.89%
Student Credit Cards 17.36%
(4.20%)
17.44%
(1.34%)
17.34%
(0.64%)
17.25%
(0.35%)
-0.52%
Business Credit Cards 15.85%
(2.66%)
16.01%
(0.69%)
16.03%
(1.26%)
16.06%
(1.77%)
0.19%
Store Credit Cards 24.27%
(3.40%)
24.09%
(2.29%)
23.88%
(1.39%)
24.08%
(2.25%)
0.85%
Average Interest Rate for All New Offers 17.83%
(1.63%)
18.00%
(2.30%)
17.85%
(1.40%)
18.00%
(2.26%)
0.85%

The interest rates in the table above pertain to new accounts opened during the second quarter of 2016. For statistics illustrating what existing cardholders pay, please see our Historical Interest Rates page.
 

Interest Rate Landscape

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Balance Transfer Landscape

Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 vs. Q2 Change
Average Length of 0% APR Intro Period (in months) 11.17
(-0.18%)
11.02
(-1.25%)
11.25
(1.08%)
11.24
(0.27%)
-0.09%
Range of 0% APR Intro Periods (in months) 6-24 months 6-24 months 6-24 months 6-24 months N/A
Average Regular APR for Cards that have 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 17.21%
(2.26%)
17.30%
(0.82%)
17.26%
(0.64%)
17.33%
(1.70%)
0.41%
Range of Regular APRs for Cards that have 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 6.90% – 26.24% 7.15% – 26.24% 7.15% – 26.24% 6.45% – 26.24% N/A
Average Balance Transfer Fee for Cards with 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 3.04%
(-0.33%)
3.02%
(-0.33%)
3.04%
(-0.65%)
3.04%
(0.00%)
0.00%

New Purchase Landscape

Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 vs. Q2 Change
Average Length of 0% Intro Period (in months) 9.60
(-2.74%)
9.61
(-0.83%)
9.56
(0.00%)
9.81
(2.29%)
2.62%
Range of 0% APR Intro Periods (in months) 6-21 months 6-21 months 6-21 months 6-21 months N/A
Average Regular APR for Cards that have 0% Intro APR on New Purchases 17.63%
(3.40%)
17.76%
(2.30%)
17.76%
(2.36%)
17.64%
(0.74%)
-0.68%
Range of regular APRs for Cards that have 0% Intro APR on Purchases 6.90% -29.49% 7.15% -29.49% 7.15% -29.49% 7.15% -29.49% N/A

 

0% Introductory Periods

Penalty APRs

Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 vs. Q2 Change
Average 27.93%
(-0.21%)
27.95%
(-0.29%)
27.95%
(0.58%)
27.97%
(0.50%)
0.07%
Range 16.99% – 30.24% 16.99% – 30.24% 16.99% – 30.24% 16.99% – 29.99% N/A

Cash Advances

Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 vs. Q2 Change
Average APR 22.50%
(-0.21%)
22.66%
(-0.29%)
22.75%
(0.58%)
22.66%
(0.50%)
-0.40%
APR Range 6.25% – 36.00% 6.5% – 36.00% 6.5% – 36.00% 6.50% – 36.00% N/A
Average Cash Advance Fee % 4.02%
(0.75%)
4.00%
(0.76%)
4.01%
(0.75%)
4.00%
(0.50%)
-0.25%
Average Cash Advance Fee $ amount $14.51
(11.19%)
$14.70
(11.79%)
$14.71
(4.47%)
$14.71
(4.25%)
0.00%
Cash Advance

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Rewards

Cash Back

Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 vs. Q2 Change
Average Base Earn Rate 1.00%
(2.04%)
1.00%
(1.01%)
1.01%
(1.00%)
1.02%
(2.00%)
0.99%
Range of Base Earn Rate 0.25% – 2% 0.25% – 2% 0.25% – 2% 0.25% – 2% N/A
Average Initial Bonus $99.56
(3.34%)
$98.71
(3.86%)
$99.96
(0.46%)
$101.48
(2.31%)
1.52%
Range of Initial Bonus $10 – $500 $10 – $500 $10 – $500 $10 – $500 N/A

Miles or Points

Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 vs. Q2 Change
Average Base Earn Rate (in miles or points) 1.16
(0.87%)
1.16
(-0.85%)
1.15
(-0.86%)
1.16
(-0.85%)
0.87%
Range of Base Earn Rate 0.01 – 15 miles / points 0.01 – 15 miles / points 0.01 – 15 miles / points 0.01 – 15 miles / points N/A
Average Initial Bonus (in miles or points) 15,090
(5.95%)
14,188
(-0.98%)
15,103
(-17.25%)
15,664
(9.36%)
3.72%
Range of Initial Bonus 1000 – 85000 miles / points 1000 – 85000 miles / points 1000 – 100000 miles / points 1000 – 100000 miles / points N/A

 

Base Earn Rates

 

Initial Bonus Points/Miles

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Fees

Q4 2015 (vs. last yr) Q1 2016 (vs. last yr) Q2 2016 (vs. last yr) Q3 2016 (vs. last yr) Q3 vs. Q2 Change
Average Annual Fee $16.51
(-3.39%)
$16.81
(-2.27%)
$16.43
(-6.33%)
$16.42
(-5.85%)
-0.06%
Average Maximum Late Fee $35.57
(3.31%)
$35.34
(2.08%)
$35.49
(0.62%)
$35.46
(-0.42%)
-0.08%
Average Foreign Transaction Fee 2.13%
(-8.19%)
2.08%
(-9.57%)
2.05%
(-6.82%)
2.02%
(-6.91%)
-1.46%
Foreign Transaction Fee Range 0% – 3% 0% – 3% 0% – 3% 0% – 3% N/A
Average Balance Transfer Fee for Cards with Intro Balance Transfer APR 3.05%
(2.01%)
3.04%
(2.70%)
3.09%
(0.98%)
3.09%
(1.64%)
0.00%

 

Average Annual Fee

 

Average Foreign Transaction and Balance Transfer Fees

Debt & Unemployment

Q3 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 vs. Q1 Change
Accumulation $21.30 billion 
(34.13%)
$52.40 billion 
(14.09%)
-$26.80 billion 
(-22.99%)
$34.40 billion 
(6.83%)
-225.09%
Delinquency Rate* 2.18%
(-2.24%)
2.23%
(0.45%)
2.16%
(1.41%)
2.09%
(3.98%)
-3.24%
Charge-Off Rate* 2.76%
(-4.50%)
2.91%
(-2.35%)
3.16%
(4.29%)
3.13%
(3.30%)
-0.95%

*Not seasonally adjusted

Unemployment

(vs. last yr)
Q3 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016 Q2 vs. Q1 Change
Unemployment Rate 5.17%
(-14.84%)
5.00%
(-13.79%)
4.93%
(-11.38%)
4.87%
(-9.88%)
-1.35%

 

Delinquency, Charge-Off, & Unemployment Rates

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Credit Card Complaints & Satisfaction

Credit Card Complaints
Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 vs. Q2
Collection 38.14%
(-0.47%)
29.54%
(-22.97%)
28.17%
(-18.67%)
25.80%
(-36.23%)
-8.40%
Billing 17.27%
(-22.50%)
17.12%
(-21.28%)
17.25%
(-8.72%)
16.85%
(-26.62%)
-2.36%
APR or interest rate 3.28%
(-37.41%)
3.69%
(-12.54%)
3.40%
(-39.76%)
2.79%
(-41.24%)
-17.93%
Identity theft / Fraud / Embezzlement 7.87%
(-23.33%)
8.07%
(-17.93%)
8.20%
(2.01%)
8.48%
(-18.20%)
3.38%
Closing/Cancelling account 5.07%
(-24.69%)
5.66%
(-49.59%)
5.15%
(-31.06%)
5.12%
(-25.61%)
-0.72%
Credit card protection / Debt protection 2.05%
(-20.32%)
1.84%
(-43.08%)
1.79%
(-44.77%)
1.81%
(-37.71%)
1.03%
Credit 3.92%
(-39.30%)
3.40%
(-36.95%)
3.97%
(-23.90%)
4.30%
(-30.94%)
8.37%
Payoff process 1.89%
(-29.28%)
1.79%
(-28.92%)
2.18%
(-14.15%)
1.51%
(-28.93%)
-30.51%
Fees 4.40%
(-49.84%)
5.51%
(-21.76%)
4.65%
(-44.07%)
4.60%
(-38.87%)
-1.19%
Advertising and marketing 2.68%
(-27.67%)
2.75%
(-24.33%)
2.75%
(-72.90%)
2.92%
(-17.08%)
6.04%
Customer service / Customer relations 3.38%
(-28.25%)
2.90%
(-34.21%)
3.10%
(-15.38%)
3.66%
(-25.97%)
17.86%
Rewards 2.62%
(3.67%)
2.49%
(-0.76%)
3.27%
(-51.71%)
5.97%
(146.36%)
82.49%
Delinquent account 3.79%
(-27.18%)
3.79%
(-32.48%)
3.12%
(-18.03%)
2.44%
(-53.96%)
-21.89%

 

Q3 2016 Consumer Credit Card Complaints

 

Top 7 Consumer Complaints Over Time


Customer Satisfaction With Large Issuers

Rank Issuer CardHub Satisfaction Score CFPB Complaints Per $1 Billion Outstanding Satisfactory Response WalletHub Reviews
Max 100 Points Max 60 Points Max 20 Points Max 20 Points
1 PNC Bank 94.55 58.48 20.00 16.07
2 USAA Savings 91.09 58.33 14.03 18.74
3 Navy FCU 89.75 58.55 16.13 15.07
4 Barclays 88.15 55.36 16.13 16.67
5 First National Bank of Omaha 87.88 58.32 14.00 15.56
6 BB&T Financial 87.86 58.43 15.00 14.42
7 Capital One 87.48 56.21 14.77 16.50
8 Discover 86.13 58.21 12.74 15.17
9 Fifth Third Bank 85.75 57.63 17.50 10.63
10 JPMorgan Chase 84.24 57.89 12.08 14.27
11 U.S. Bancorp 83.75 58.23 12.06 13.46
12 Bank of America 82.91 58.31 12.97 11.64
13 Wells Fargo 82.64 57.17 12.50 12.97
14 Citibank 81.29 53.71 14.71 12.87
15 TD Bank 79.66 51.64 13.26 14.76
16 Amex 78.93 57.30 8.61 13.02
17 Synchrony Bank 59.13 45.48 12.97 0.68

Methodology: CardHub evaluated consumer satisfaction for 17 of the largest credit card issuers based on total outstanding balances. Each issuer was scored on a 100-point scale according to the following criteria:

  1. CFPB Complaints Per $1 Billion Outstanding (maximum of 60 points)
    • 60 Points: No complaints
    • 0 Points: 135+ complaints
  2. Satisfactory Response Rate To CFPB Complaints (maximum of 20 points)
    • 20 Points: 100%
    • 0 Points: 50%
  3. Average WalletHub Rating (maximum of 20 points)
    • 20 Points: 5 stars
    • 0 Points: 2 stars or below

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Prepaid Card Complaints

Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q3 vs. Q2
Adding money 9.53%
(805.22%)
5.36%
(52.38%)
5.02%
(81.41%)
4.63%
(7.34%)
-7.69%
Advertising, marketing or disclosures 0.70%
(-66.65%)
2.86%
(46.29%)
3.47%
(25.59%)
1.93%
(-23.33%)
-44.44%
Fees 2.81%
(-51.49%)
6.07%
(11.02%)
11.58%
(12.71%)
6.95%
(-3.40%)
-40.00%
Fraud or scam 18.25%
(2.01%)
18.93%
(-13.47%)
20.85%
(7.65%)
14.29%
(-31.53%)
-31.48%
Managing, opening, or closing account 33.00%
(-9.13%)
38.93%
(11.97%)
27.03%
(-19.55%)
26.64%
(-29.46%)
-1.43%
Overdraft, savings or rewards features 1.00%
(-68.24%)
2.50%
(60.00%)
1.16%
(46.53%)
1.16%
(61.00%)
0.00%
Unauthorized transactions/trans. issues 34.70%
(3.03%)
25.00%
(-18.99%)
30.50%
(0.22%)
44.02%
(65.36%)
44.30%
Prepaid Card Complaints

This report was compiled using data from the 1,000+ credit card offers, monitored by CardHub on a daily basis. Questions or requests for additional information can be directed to our media department.

Editorial Disclaimer: Editorial content is not provided or commissioned by financial institutions. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and have not been approved or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution, including those that are CardHub advertising partners. Our content is intended for general educational purposes and should not be relied upon as the sole basis for managing your finances. Furthermore, the materials on this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Ad Disclosure: Offers originating from paying advertisers are noted as “Sponsored” on the offer's details page. Advertising may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). At CardHub we try to list as many offers as possible but we don't make any representation of listing all available offers.

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