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CFPB Report Finds Large Banks Charge Higher Credit Card Interest Rates than Small Banks and Credit Unions

Switching to a lower rate could save the average borrower hundreds of dollars per year

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today reported on the first set of results from the newly updated Terms of Credit Card Plans survey. The survey data reveal that large banks are offering worse credit card terms and interest rates than small banks and credit unions, regardless of credit risk. In fact, the 25 largest credit card issuers charged customers interest rates of 8 to 10 points higher than small- and medium-sized banks and credit unions. This difference can translate to $400 to $500 in additional annual interest for the average cardholder.

“Our analysis found that the largest credit card companies are charging substantially higher interest rates than smaller banks and credit unions,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “With over $1 trillion in credit card debt outstanding, the CFPB will be accelerating its efforts to ensure that consumers can access better rates that can save families billions of dollars per year.”

Today’s survey data include information on all general-purpose credit cards of the largest 25 credit card issuers in the United States. The data also include a representative sample of products from small- and medium-sized banks and credit unions across the country. Among some the survey’s key findings:

  • Large issuers offered worse rates across credit scores: Whether a person has poor, good, or great credit, large issuers offer higher interest rates. For example, the median interest rate for people with good credit – a credit score between 620 and 719 – was 28.20% for large issuers and 18.15% for small issuers.
  • Fifteen issuers reported credit cards with interest rates above 30%: Nine of the largest credit card issuers in the country reported at least one product with a maximum purchase annual percentage rate (APR) over 30%. Many of these high-cost products were private label or co-branded cards offered through retail partnerships.
  • Large issuers were more likely to charge annual fees: Among large issuers’ credit cards, 27% carried an annual fee, compared to just 9.5% of small firms. The average annual fee was $157 for the largest issuers, as opposed to $94 for smaller issuers.

The newly updated Terms of Credit Card Products survey is one part of the CFPB’s efforts to increase competition throughout the credit card market. The CFPB is promoting switching through open banking, scrutinizing bait-and-switch tactics on credit card rewards, closing loopholes that allow credit card issuers to extract junk fees, and promoting credit card comparison shopping.

In October 2023, the CFPB published its biannual consumer credit card market report. The report noted that more than 190 million consumers have at least one credit card. The report also stated that both credit card debt and spending reached record levels at the end of 2022. Debt surpassed $1 trillion, and spending reached $846 billion.

The CFPB will continue to release data on credit card pricing and availability every six months, with the next release slated for later in spring 2024. The CFPB is developing a consumer-facing tool that, once finished, will give people looking for a new credit card an unbiased way to compare credit card terms and interest rates.

Read the CFPB’s data spotlight on the agency’s Terms of Credit Card Plans survey.

Read more about the Terms of Credit Card Plans survey.

Consumers can submit complaints about financial products or services by visiting the CFPB’s website or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).

Employees who they believe their company has violated federal consumer financial protection laws are encouraged to send information about what they know to

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that implements and enforces Federal consumer financial law and ensures that markets for consumer financial products are fair, transparent, and competitive. For more information, visit