How to Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate
Written by: Kristy Welsh
Last Updated: July 25, 2017
In a perfect world, your credit card interest rate would be irrelevant because you would never carry a balance on your credit card account and, in turn, would never be charged interest. In reality, you probably carry a balance now and then, or you might find yourself wanting or needing to at some point in the future. If you have looked at your interest rate lately, chances are it is over 20 percent and you are paying way too much each month in interest charges. How can you fix this? Learn to master the art of asking your credit card issuer to lower your interest rate.
Will a Credit Card Company Lower the Interest Rate Because You Asked?
Not necessarily, but the chances are far better than simply waiting around for your credit card company to notice how much you really do deserve a lower interest rate. They are, after all, in the business of making money. So why in the world would they go out of their way to make less money for a service you seem perfectly fine paying more for?
In other words, the only way you're going to get a lower interest rate on your credit card is if you ask for it. Granted, your credit card company is under no obligation to give it to you but, done right, many a happy credit cardholder can attest that this approach does work.
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Best Time to Ask a Credit Card Company For a Lower Interest Rate
The longer you've held an account in good standing, the more likely your credit card issuer is to lower your interest rate.
For instance, if you have a credit card that you've been making on-time payments to every month for a year or more, it's the perfect candidate. On the other hand, if you have a credit card you've only had a couple of months or that you've had a recent history of making late payments on, wait and make at least 3 to 6 months worth of on-time payments before calling in with the ask.
What Interest Rate Should You Ask For?
This depends on your credit score, but it's a good rule of thumb to shoot for 9 to 12 percent.
What Kind Of Credit is Needed to Lower the Interest Rate?
Your credit need not be excellent for you to receive a lower interest rate on your credit card. However, it definitely helps if your credit is better than it was when you opened the account.
How Does a Credit Card Company Decide Whether to Lower the Rate?
A few factors go into a credit card company's decision to lower your interest rate, including:
- How politely you ask for it.
- Your payment history.
- Your current credit score compared to your score when you opened the account.
- The prospect of losing your business to a competitor already willing to offer you a lower interest rate.
How to Ask a Credit Card Company to Lower the Interest Rate
Politely. Yes, it's a great big credit card company you're dealing with, but the decision really lies with one person - your customer service rep.
Here's a general how-to of things:
- Hold onto the credit card offers you receive from other issuers with offers of interest rates lower than your current card in question.
- Before you make the call, find out your credit score. Do a little research to see what interest rates and credit cards are being offered for borrowers in your credit score range.
- Call the phone number on the back of your credit card.
- Tell the customer service representative that you are calling to ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card. Chances are slim they will make you an offer at this point. If they do (and it's competitive), great. If not, move on to step 5.
- If they tell you that your rate cannot be lowered, explain that you have received other offers for credit cards with lower interest rates as low as [quote the offer]. Then tell them you'll be taking your business elsewhere unless they can lower your interest rate accordingly. The interest rate you ask for need not match what you are being offered by another card issuer, particularly if the new offer is very low. You are far better off asking for an interest rate ranging from 9 to 12 percent.
What If They Won't Lower the Interest Rate?
It's not the company saying no, it is just one person. Call back a different day and you just might be on the receiving end of a friendlier voice.
What If I Call Back and the Credit Card Company Still Says No to a Lower Interest Rate?
If the credit card company still won't budge, you can do one of two things:
- Wait a few months then try again.
- Transfer the balance to a card with another issuer that is offering you a lower interest rate. Just be sure to shop around for the best rates you can find -- on interest rates, of course, but also balance transfer fees.
Too Afraid to Ask For a Lower Rate?
Get over it. Rest assured, your credit card issuer is very accustomed to cardholders calling in to request a lower interest rate, so there is nothing odd or out of the ordinary about it. As with anything else in life, the more confidently and calmly you ask, the more likely you are to get what you want.