Why are bank card rates of interest so excessive?

Excessive rates of interest are one of many greatest drawbacks of utilizing a bank card to borrow cash.

When you can keep away from paying bank card curiosity by following TPG’s first commandment of bank cards and making certain that you simply all the time pay the steadiness in full, in the event you do carry a steadiness, you may encounter rates of interest a lot greater than different varieties of loans.

On this article, we’ll discover the components that go into setting bank card rates of interest and share some recommendations on learn how to keep away from paying a excessive bank card annual share price, or APR.

What’s APR?

The time period APR is brief for annual share price, and it refers back to the annual price you pay to borrow cash from a bank card firm or different lender.


Bank cards will cost both a set or variable APR. Mounted APRs are set by the bank card issuer and don’t change. Variable APRs are set primarily based on market circumstances and might be topic to alter. Most bank cards have a variable APR that’s decided by the prime price.

APRs may fluctuate relying on how you utilize the cardboard. For instance, most bank card corporations cost a special APR for purchases, steadiness transfers, money advances and penalty APR (in the event you violate the bank card phrases).

Some bank cards supply an introductory APR for promotional functions. That is typically a 0% rate of interest for a specified time period. In the event you plan to hold a steadiness whenever you first join a bank card, we advocate getting a card with a zero APR introductory supply to keep away from paying any curiosity for a particular interval.

Associated: Finest 0% APR and low curiosity bank cards

Why is my APR so excessive?

Bank cards usually have greater rates of interest than different varieties of credit score, reminiscent of private loans and mortgages. There are a number of causes for this.

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For one, bank cards present a grace interval on card purchases, which means that you simply will not pay any curiosity so long as you pay the acquisition steadiness in full by the due date.

Additionally, in contrast to a mortgage or new automobile mortgage, bank cards are unsecured loans, so the lender is taking further danger by not requiring you to offer any collateral in trade for the cash you are borrowing.

Bank card corporations additionally should incur greater processing prices, because of the sheer quantity of each day bank card transactions which might be processed.


Final however not least, bank card corporations spend tens of millions of {dollars} every year defending (and reimbursing) cardholders from bank card fraud, which is as prevalent as ever. Bank card corporations should recoup these prices from the rates of interest they cost.

In fact, we should additionally do not forget that bank card issuers wish to make a wholesome revenue on the cash they lend out. That is additionally mirrored in excessive APRs and different charges they cost to their customers.

Associated: What’s buy APR on a bank card?

Why did my APR go up?

Typically, chances are you’ll discover a rise in your bank card’s APR. Listed here are a couple of attainable explanations:


In case you are carrying a steadiness in your bank card, you possibly can all the time name your card issuer and ask for a discount in your APR you probably have an excellent historical past of one-time funds. They might not approve your request, nevertheless it by no means hurts to ask.

Associated: Tips on how to keep away from and cut back bank card curiosity

Tips on how to keep away from a excessive APR

Let’s take a look at a couple of methods you possibly can cut back your bank card APR or keep away from paying curiosity altogether:

  • Pay your steadiness in full each month: Once more, we right here at TPG cannot emphasize this sufficient: pay your steadiness in full to keep away from paying bank card curiosity.
  • Zero or low curiosity playing cards: When you’ve got good credit score, you possibly can entry decrease APR bank cards. This contains bank cards with 0% introductory APR affords.
  • Request a decrease APR: When you’ve got been carrying a steadiness month-to-month and have an excellent cost historical past, take into account asking your card issuer to cut back your rate of interest.

As an avid bank card fanatic, I make a behavior of paying my card steadiness off in full each month. I’ve even utilized zero APR introductory affords on a bank card once I’ve wanted to make bigger purchases.

This has given me the pliability to repay the steadiness owed over a number of months with out having to fret about excessive APRs or different bank card charges.

Associated: Professionals and cons of zero % APR bank cards

Backside line

Most bank card issuers cost variable APRs that may change primarily based on quite a lot of components. Our prediction is that, usually, rates of interest will go down in 2024, although not considerably.

The excellent news is that by paying your steadiness in full every month, you do not have to fret about excessive bank card rates of interest and APRs. In the event you should carry a steadiness, search for a card with a zero APR introductory supply.

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