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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 or issuer strategy, but credit card market trends are also extremely revealing about the health of the country’s economy and that of its consumers. Keeping track of this information is therefore essential to finding the best deals and truly understanding the financial climate.

CardHub aims to provide the requisite insights by monitoring market data regarding interest rates, rewards and fees across credit segments and highlighting the most important trends in our quarterly credit card landscape reports. Below you can check out our latest findings, including a breakdown of how credit card interest rates have reacted to the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise its target rate.

Q1 Main Findings

Interest Rates

  • Interest rates are higher across the board relative to Q1 2015, with the “fair credit” (6.72%) and “secured” (3.29%) segments seeing the biggest increases.
  • Rates also increased from the end of 2015, for the most part. Only two market segments – “fair credit” (-0.90%) and “store cards” (-0.75%) – bucked this trend, and the regression was extremely small.
  • On average, credit card interest rates have increased 2.24% since the Federal Reserve raised its target rate in December 2015.

Initial Perks (0% APRs & Rewards Bonuses)

  • Interest-free introductory terms are still 15% longer for balance transfers than new purchases, despite the gap shrinking by 10% in Q1 2016 compared to last quarter . The persisting discrepancy 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. Balance transfer fees on 0% cards also fell slightly relative to the previous quarter (-0.66%).
  • The value of initial rewards bonuses offered in the form of points or miles decreased by 5.98% during Q1 2016. However, such bonuses have more than doubled in value since Q3 2010, and this likely represents stabilization. Supporting this conclusion, the value of cash-based initial bonuses did not change during the first quarter and has increased just 1.01% on a year-over-year basis.

Fees

  • The average annual fee increased slightly (1.82%) during Q1, and is now $16.81.
  • Foreign transaction fees continued to drop during the first quarter, falling 2.35% from the previous quarter and 9.57% relative to the first quarter of 2015. The average foreign transaction fee has now declined by 17% since the beginning of 2011.
  • Credit card companies continue to exploit the weakness of cash-hungry customers, increasing cash advance fees by roughly 1.31% during the first quarter of 2016 and 66% since the end of 2012. The average cash advance fee is now the greater of 4% or $14.07.

Complaints & Satisfaction

  • Q1 2016 marked a peak for credit card complaints, with the overall volume rising by 38% from the previous high in Q4 2015.
  • Complaints pertaining to “fees” increased the most from Q4 2015 to Q1 2016, rising by 25.23%.
  • “Customer service and customer relations” complaints declined the most from Q4 2015 to Q1 2016 (-14.18%), followed closely by complaints related to “credit” (-13.12%).
  • “Billing” complaints are still the most popular overall, by a wide margin, despite declining for the past three quarters and 21.28% on a year-over-year basis.
  • Consumers were most satisfied with Navy Federal Credit Union during the first quarter of 2016, with the institution earning a CardHub Satisfaction Score of 95.73. Synchrony Bank had the least satisfied consumers, with a Satisfaction Score of 68.48.

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Interest Rates

Q3 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 vs. Q1 Change
Excellent Credit 12.77%
(-1.47%)
12.84%
(-0.23%)
13.02%
(0.46%)
13.08%
(2.43%)
0.46%
Good Credit 17.71%
(1.78%)
17.70%
(1.61%)
17.92%
(1.93%)
17.97%
(2.86%)
0.28%
Fair Credit 20.31%
(-3.05%)
21.16%
(6.60%)
20.97%
(6.72%)
20.16%
(-0.98%)
-3.86%
Secured Credit Cards 18.79%
(-0.90%)
18.90%
(-0.94%)
19.49%
(3.29%)
19.35%
(2.76%)
-0.72%
Student Credit Cards 17.19%
(3.18%)
17.36%
(4.20%)
17.44%
(1.34%)
17.34%
(0.64%)
-0.57%
Business Credit Cards 15.78%
(1.74%)
15.85%
(2.66%)
16.01%
(0.69%)
16.03%
(1.26%)
0.12%
Store Credit Cards 23.56%
(0.12%)
24.27%
(3.40%)
24.09%
(2.29%)
23.88%
(1.39%)
-0.88%
Average Interest Rate for All New Offers 17.61%
(0.11%)
17.83%
(1.63%)
18.00%
(2.30%)
17.85%
(1.40%)
-0.88%

The interest rates in the table above pertain to new accounts opened during the first quarter of 2016. For averages that show how much existing cardholders are paying, please see our Historical Interest Rates page.
 

Interest Rate Landscape

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Balance Transfer Landscape

Q3 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 vs. Q1 Change
Average Length of 0% APR Intro Period (in months) 11.21
(3.70%)
11.17
(-0.18%)
11.02
(-1.25%)
11.25
(1.08%)
0.45%
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 17.04%
(2.40%)
17.21%
(2.26%)
17.30%
(0.82%)
17.26%
(0.64%)
-0.23%
Range of Regular APRs for Cards that have 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 6.90% – 25.99% 6.90% – 26.24% 7.15% – 26.24% 7.15% – 26.24% N/A
Average Balance Transfer Fee for Cards with 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers 3.04%
(-0.33%)
3.04%
(-0.33%)
3.02%
(-0.33%)
3.04%
(-0.65%)
0.66%

New Purchase Landscape

Q3 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 vs. Q1 Change
Average Length of 0% Intro Period (in months) 9.59
(-3.23%)
9.60
(-2.74%)
9.61
(-0.83%)
9.56
(0.00%)
-0.52%
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 17.51%
(3.06%)
17.63%
(3.40%)
17.76%
(2.30%)
17.76%
(2.36%)
0.00%
Range of regular APRs for Cards that have 0% Intro APR on Purchases 6.90% -29.24% 6.90% -29.49% 7.15% -29.49% 7.15% -29.49% N/A

 

0% Introductory Periods

Penalty APRs

Q3 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 vs. Q1 Change
Average 27.83%
(-0.39%)
27.93%
(-0.21%)
27.95%
(-0.29%)
27.95%
(0.58%)
0.00%
Range 16.99% – 29.99% 16.99% – 30.24% 16.99% – 30.24% 16.99% – 30.24% N/A

Cash Advances

Q3 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 vs. Q1 Change
Average APR 22.36%
(-1.32%)
22.50%
(-0.21%)
22.66%
(-0.29%)
22.75%
(0.58%)
0.40%
APR Range 6.25% – 36.00% 6.25% – 36.00% 6.5% – 36.00% 6.5% – 36.00% N/A
Average Cash Advance Fee % 3.98%
(-0.50%)
4.02%
(0.75%)
4.00%
(0.76%)
4.01%
(0.75%)
0.25%
Average Cash Advance Fee $ amount $14.11
(10.41%)
$14.51
(11.19%)
$14.70
(11.79%)
$14.71
(4.47%)
0.07%
Cash Advance

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Rewards

Cash Back

Q3 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 vs. Q1 Change
Average Base Earn Rate 1.00%
(2.04%)
1.00%
(2.04%)
1.00%
(1.01%)
1.01%
(1.00%)
1.00%
Range of Base Earn Rate 0.25% – 2% 0.25% – 2% 0.25% – 2% 0.25% – 2% N/A
Average Initial Bonus $99.19
(2.82%)
$99.56
(3.34%)
$98.71
(3.86%)
$99.96
(0.46%)
1.27%
Range of Initial Bonus $10 – $500 $10 – $500 $10 – $500 $10 – $500 N/A

Miles or Points

Q3 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 vs. Q1 Change
Average Base Earn Rate (in miles or points) 1.17
(1.74%)
1.16
(0.87%)
1.16
(-0.85%)
1.15
(-0.86%)
-0.86%
Range of Base Earn Rate 0.01 – 10 miles / points 0.01 – 10 miles / points 0.01 – 10 miles / points 0.01 – 10 miles / points N/A
Average Initial Bonus (in miles or points) 14,323
(4.77%)
15,090
(5.95%)
14,188
(-0.98%)
15,103
(-17.25%)
6.44%
Range of Initial Bonus 1000 – 85000 miles / points 1000 – 85000 miles / points 1000 – 85000 miles / points 1000 – 100000 miles / points N/A

 

Base Earn Rates

 

Initial Bonus Points/Miles

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Fees

Q3 2015 (vs. last yr) Q4 2015 (vs. last yr) Q1 2016 (vs. last yr) Q2 2016 (vs. last yr) Q2 vs. Q1 Change
Average Annual Fee $17.44
(5.12%)
$16.51
(-3.39%)
$16.81
(-2.27%)
$16.43
(-6.33%)
-2.26%
Average Maximum Late Fee $35.61
(4.09%)
$35.57
(3.31%)
$35.34
(2.08%)
$35.49
(0.62%)
0.42%
Average Foreign Transaction Fee 2.17%
(-6.87%)
2.13%
(-8.19%)
2.08%
(-9.57%)
2.05%
(-6.82%)
-1.44%
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 3.04%
(2.36%)
3.05%
(2.01%)
3.04%
(2.70%)
3.09%
(0.98%)
1.64%

 

Average Annual Fee

 

Average Foreign Transaction and Balance Transfer Fees

Debt & Unemployment

Q2 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q3 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q1 vs. Q4 Change
Accumulation $32.08 billion 
(14.00%)
$21.30 billion 
(34.13%)
$52.40 billion 
(14.09%)
-$26.80 billion 
(-22.99%)
-151.15%
Delinquency Rate* 2.01%
(-6.51%)
2.18%
(-2.24%)
2.23%
(0.45%)
2.16%
(1.41%)
-3.14%
Charge-Off Rate* 3.03%
(-12.17%)
2.76%
(-4.50%)
2.91%
(-2.35%)
3.16%
(4.29%)
8.59%

*Not seasonally adjusted

Unemployment

Q2 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q3 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q1 vs. Q4 Change
Unemployment Rate 5.40%
(-13.37%)
5.17%
(-14.84%)
5.00%
(-13.79%)
4.93%
(-11.38%)
-1.33%

 

Delinquency, Charge-Off, & Unemployment Rates

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Credit Card Complaints & Satisfaction

Q3 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 vs. Q1
Billing 22.96%
(-12.79%)
17.27%
(-22.50%)
17.12%
(-21.28%)
17.25%
(-8.72%)
0.79%
APR or interest rate 4.75%
(-31.00%)
3.28%
(-37.41%)
3.69%
(-12.54%)
3.40%
(-39.76%)
-7.88%
Identity theft / Fraud / Embezzlement 10.36%
(6.83%)
7.87%
(-23.33%)
8.07%
(-17.93%)
8.20%
(2.01%)
1.63%
Closing/Cancelling account 6.88%
(-5.48%)
5.07%
(-24.69%)
5.66%
(-49.59%)
5.15%
(-31.06%)
-8.96%
Credit card protection / Debt protection 2.91%
(4.41%)
2.05%
(-20.32%)
1.84%
(-43.08%)
1.79%
(-44.77%)
-2.43%
Credit 6.23%
(-0.80%)
3.92%
(-39.30%)
3.40%
(-36.95%)
3.97%
(-23.90%)
16.70%
Payoff process 2.13%
(-10.67%)
1.89%
(-29.28%)
1.79%
(-28.92%)
2.18%
(-14.15%)
22.05%
Fees 7.52%
(-9.47%)
4.40%
(-49.84%)
5.51%
(-21.76%)
4.65%
(-44.07%)
-15.51%
Advertising and marketing 3.52%
(5.38%)
2.68%
(-27.67%)
2.75%
(-24.33%)
2.75%
(-72.90%)
0.22%
Customer service / Customer relations 3.67%
(-12.16%)
3.38%
(-28.25%)
2.90%
(-34.21%)
3.10%
(-15.38%)
7.09%
Rewards 2.42%
(-24.81%)
2.62%
(3.67%)
2.49%
(-0.76%)
3.27%
(-51.71%)
31.13%
Delinquent account 5.30%
(46.35%)
3.79%
(-27.18%)
3.79%
(-32.48%)
3.12%
(-18.03%)
-17.65%
Q1 2016 Consumer Credit Card Complaints

 

Top 6 Consumer Complaints Over Time
Credit Card Complaints


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 First National Bank of Omaha 91.55 58.57 17.65 15.33
2 PNC Bank 91.07 58.00 18.40 14.67
3 Navy FCU 88.22 58.69 12.86 16.67
4 USAA Savings 87.42 58.45 10.97 18.00
5 Capital One 86.21 56.64 14.91 14.67
6 U.S. Bancorp 85.42 58.69 13.40 13.33
7 BB&T Financial 83.38 58.04 12.00 13.33
8 JPMorgan Chase 83.04 58.16 10.88 14.00
9 Barclays 81.78 55.14 13.30 13.33
10 Amex 81.36 58.20 9.16 14.00
11 Wells Fargo 81.30 57.87 10.77 12.67
12 Citibank 81.23 54.99 13.57 12.67
13 Bank of America 80.93 58.16 11.44 11.33
14 Discover 80.61 58.13 8.47 14.00
15 Fifth Third Bank 79.23 56.59 11.30 11.33
16 TD Bank 77.56 53.70 9.85 14.00
17 Synchrony Bank 71.68 48.24 14.11 9.33

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

Q3 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q4 2015
(vs. last yr)
Q1 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 2016
(vs. last yr)
Q2 vs. Q1
Adding money 4.32%
(-36.98%)
9.53%
(805.22%)
5.36%
(52.38%)
5.02%
(81.41%)
-6.31%
Advertising, marketing or disclosures 2.52%
(-26.47%)
0.70%
(-66.65%)
2.86%
(46.29%)
3.47%
(25.59%)
21.62%
Fees 7.19%
(-41.65%)
2.81%
(-51.49%)
6.07%
(11.02%)
11.58%
(12.71%)
90.78%
Fraud or scam 20.86%
(26.92%)
18.25%
(2.01%)
18.93%
(-13.47%)
20.85%
(7.65%)
10.15%
Managing, opening, or closing account 37.77%
(34.50%)
33.00%
(-9.13%)
38.93%
(11.97%)
27.03%
(-19.55%)
-30.57%
Overdraft, savings or rewards features 0.72%
(5.04%)
1.00%
(-68.24%)
2.50%
(60.00%)
1.16%
(46.53%)
-53.67%
Unauthorized transactions/trans. issues 26.62%
(-15.51%)
34.70%
(3.03%)
25.00%
(-18.99%)
30.50%
(0.22%)
22.01%
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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