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What Determines Credit Card APR?

Summary:Not all credit cards have variable APRs. The APR of a credit card is determined by various factors, including credit score, card type, and economic factors.

What Determines Credit Card APR?

As an English credit card expert, I am often asked about the factors that determine the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of a credit card. APR is the interest rate that is charged on the outstanding balance of a credit card. It is important to understand the factors that determine the APR as it can have a significant impact on the cost of borrowing money through a credit card.

Credit Score

One of the most important factors that determine the APR of a credit card is thecredit scoreof the cardholder. Credit score is a measure of a person's creditworthiness, and it is calculated based on their credit history, payment history, and other factors. A high credit score indicates that the person is a low-risk borrower and is more likely to repay their debt on time. Therefore, people with high credit scores are offered lower APRs, while those with low credit scores may be offered higher APRs or may not be approved for a credit card at all.

Credit Card Type

The type of credit card also plays a role in determining the APR. Credit cards can be divided into three categories: secured credit cards, unsecured credit cards, and rewards credit cards. Secured credit cards are backed by collateral, such as a deposit, and usually have lower APRs. Unsecured credit cards do not require collateral and may have higher APRs. Rewards credit cards offer perks, such as cashback, points, or airline miles, but often come with higher APRs.

Economic Factors

Economic factors, such as inflation and interest rates, can also impact the APR of a credit card. When inflation is high, the cost of borrowing money increases, which can result in higher APRs. When interest rates are low, credit card companies may offer lower APRs to entice customers to borrow money.

Credit Card Company Policies

Each credit card company has its own policies regarding APRs. Some credit card companies may offer promotional APRs, which are lower than the standard APR for a limited time. Others may have penalty APRs, which are higher than the standard APR and are applied when a cardholder misses a payment or goes over their credit limit.

Tips for Saving Money with Credit Cards

To save money with credit cards, it is important to choose a credit card with a low APR and to pay off the balance in full each month to avoid interest charges. Additionally, using a rewards credit card can help you earn cashback, points, or other rewards for your purchases. However, it is important to read the terms and conditions of the credit card to understand any fees, such as annual fees or balance transfer fees. Finally, it is important to use credit cards responsibly and to avoid overspending or taking on more debt than you can afford to repay.


In conclusion, the APR of a credit card is determined by several factors, including credit score, creditcard type,economic factors, and credit card company policies. By understanding these factors and choosing a credit card wisely, you can save money and avoid financial pitfalls associated with credit card debt.

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