No one likes paying bills. The worst bill? Credit card interest fees. You’re spending money for the sake of spending money. So if you could do something to start cutting your credit card interest rates today, wouldn’t you want to do that? Here are five ways you can cut your interest rates and save yourselves hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of a year.
Learn the Market
Before you do anything, learn what the credit market looks like. What’s your credit score? What’s the average interest rate for people with your credit score? Credit Sesame can help you find out. You’ll be in a far better position for bargaining with your credit card company.
Let’s Make a Deal
There’s nothing stopping you from calling your credit card company and trying to negotiate a lower rate directly. There are three keys to getting yourself a lowered credit card rate on your present card through negotiation:
- Have a good credit score. Credit card companies reserve lower rates for people at a lower risk of defaulting on their payments. If you’ve proven yourself responsible, you’re more likely to get a rate cut.
- Pay on time. If you always pay before the due date, a higher interest rate is a less attractive option for the credit card company—they’re already making less in interest off you than they are people who pay late. Those who pay on time are less likely to default and less of a risky investment.
- Be a long-time cardholder. Credit card companies are more likely to make concessions to long-time, loyal cardholders than they are neophytes.
As always, be professional, polite and courteous and you might be surprised at just how much they’ll cut your rates. One of the easiest ways to go about this is to ask for an introductory rate. If the representative won’t budge, ask to speak to a supervisor and tell them that this is going to mean losing your business and move on to the next section.
Transfer the Balance
It’s not 2006 anymore, but you can still find a number of low, introductory rate credit cards to transfer your balance to—you can find a ton of stellar options in the Credit Sesame Credit Card tool. It’s never a good idea to do this multiple times, but once can make a huge difference in terms of your monthly payments and getting your credit paid down. This is another situation where, if you think you can pay off your debt during the grace period, it’s a no brainer. Otherwise, read the fine print: There’s no point in getting a low interest rate if it’s going to balloon to twice your current interest in six months.
We know—you don’t like to think of yourself as eligible for a “hardship program.” However, these programs exist for anyone whose interest payments are making it harder to make ends meet. They don’t last indefinitely: Generally they run out after a year at the very most. But during that time they can cut your interest rates in half or even bring them down to zero. Particularly for the consumer looking to eliminate her credit card debt, this can be an attractive option.
Watch Out For Scams
Because the recession is over and people are starting to pay down their debt again, there’s are a lot of scams out there for people looking to lower their credit card interest rates. Protect yourself from falling victim to scams:
- Never give out your credit card or other personal financial information to strangers. Following this rule won’t just protect you from credit card scammers, it will protect you from scams in general.
- Beware of recorded phone calls. This is doubly true if you are on the national “Do Not Call” registry. The only reason you should be getting recorded phone calls is because you specifically requested them.
- Report all violations of the “Do Not Call” registry. This will help you to protect the next person they call by giving the Federal Trade Commission information on the scam.
In general, you should be wary of unsolicited phone calls looking for personal information.
Lower Your Credit Card Rate Today
Researching your credit score and learning current rates won’t take long. In fact, you’ll probably spend longer waiting to talk to a customer service representative. Lower your interest rate today and start saving money, putting your debt-free life even closer.
The post How to Start Cutting Your Credit Card Interest Rates Today appeared first on Credit Sesame.