Is it possible to negotiate the rate you pay in interest on your credit cards? If you carry a balance on your credit cards, the answer to this question could save you a lot of money in interest.
WHAT IS AN APR?
Generally, credit cards charge cardholders an annual percentage rate (APR). This APR is how the credit card company charges you for the privilege of using their card. The percentage amount can vary. Some credit card companies charge more than others, and often the APR you are charged is based on your credit score.
It is important to know how much the APR is on your cards. Even lowering your rate a few percentage points could save you thousands of dollars.
WHY IS MY CREDIT CARD INTEREST RATE SO HIGH?
Interest rates vary by card. But, more than that, they are based on the risk the credit card company is taking by issuing you credit. Just like any other lender, they need to weigh how much of a risk it is that you will not make your payments on time and in full. Where loans for large items have your house or your car as collateral in case you default, credit companies do not have any real-property items to use as collateral.
This is why many credit card companies’ interest rates are often higher than those of banks and other lenders. If you have a low credit score, you are a higher risk to the company; therefore, your interest rate is likely higher than those with excellent credit scores.
WHAT IS A GOOD INTEREST RATE?
After climbing for 20 straight weeks this summer and spring, the current national average credit card APR is a little more than 18%. The average changes often, so it is a good idea to do your research when looking for a competitive APR.
CAN YOU LOWER YOUR CREDIT CARD INTEREST RATE?
Generally, the answer to that question is, no, you cannot. However, there are always exceptions. Primarily, when you have a higher credit score, you are a better risk for the lender. And the less risk you are, the lender realizes they can make more money off of you without fear.
Therefore, you can go to them and let them know you are unhappy with their high interest rate. Let them know you may move on to another lender. They might reply with a counteroffer or another program that they can offer that has a lower APR because they would like to keep your business.
This has the potential to work only if your credit score is above 680. If it is below that, you will most likely be stuck with your current interest rate until you can improve your credit score.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT SCORE
If your goal is to lower your interest rate, you first need to increase your credit score. Your score is derived from information contained in your credit report. The higher the number, the better your score.
Here are a few ways to improve your score over time:
- Make sure you always pay all of your bills on time.
- Try to keep your balances low on your credit cards.
- Try not to apply for any new credit cards, as this can lower your score.
- Pay off as much of your other debt as you can.
It is unlikely you will be able to decrease your interest rate, but it is not impossible. Do everything you can to increase your credit score, and once you do, contact your credit card company. Let them know you want a better APR. If you are not a credit risk, there is a possibility they will honor your request.
The worst that can happen is that they say no. Nothing lost; nothing gained. But, if they say yes, it could save you thousands in interest. It never hurt to ask.
A more positive outlook toward a more financially secure future starts today. Give the Ascent Network a call today at 1-877-871-2400. Ascent Network helps consumers all over the United States. It is available locally in Huntington Beach, CA, Coachella Valley, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio, and Thousand Palms.