When credit card users carry balances, their top priority should be to lower their interest charges. There are two ways to accomplish this: Decrease balances by paying down debt, or find a way to get a lower interest rate. The problem is that paying down debt requires cash, but getting a lower credit card interest rate does not.
So how do you do it? Try these proven ways:
About half of all credit cards feature a range of interest rates, and the one you received depended on your credit worthiness at the time you applied. Nevertheless, much can change after you received your card. If you weren’t given the lowest possible rate, and have reason to believe that that your credit score has gone up, call your bank and request to have your interest rate lowered. It can’t hurt to ask, and you might be pleasantly surprised.
2. Ask again
Even when a bank’s representative refuses your first request for a lower rate, don’t be bashful about calling back and trying your luck again. People at the same bank may react differently to the same request.
3. Threaten to close your account
Once you have tried making a polite requests a few times, call your bank and inform them you are considering closing your account. You will likely be transferred to a representative in the retentions department whose mission is to keep you from closing your account. Inform the representative you need a lower interest rate and you will have to close your account if they cannot offer you a more competitive rate.
4. Change products
One option that cardholders can request is to have their account moved to a different card with a lower interest rate. For example, if you signed up for a rewards card, a different card without rewards will almost always offer a lower interest rate. As always, those who carry a balance should never be worried about earning rewards. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that a bank will transfer your existing balance to a different card that they issued, so the lower rate will only apply to new purchases. Therefore, this solution is best for those who don’t currently have debt, but may occasionally need to carry a balance.
5. Perform a balance transfer to an existing card
Cardholders who have debt on one of their cards can transfer their balance to another card with a lower interest rate, so long as it was issued by a different institution. Just keep in mind that a balance transfer fee may apply.
6. Open up a new card with a promotional balance transfer offer
There are many credit cards that offer a reduced rate or 0% APR promotional financing on balance transfers for between six and 18 months, typically with a 3% balance transfer fee. Cardholders who receive one of these offers can eliminate interest payments for some time period. Again, just be sure that the promotional offer is from a different issuer than the card you intend to transfer the balance from.
It is no fun to pay credit card interest, but there are some steps that you can take to pay as little as possible. By trying some of these six tactics, cardholders can cut their interest rates and use their savings to more quickly pay off their debts.
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