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Marriage and Money

Budget tips for lowering credit card rates

If you carry debt and are looking for ways to pay it down quicker, you might want to consider lowering your interest rates with these helpful negotiation tips.

Lowering your credit card interest rates

Do you carry a balance on your credit cards every month? Does it feel as though your balance never seems to go down no matter how hard you try? If high interest rates are keeping you from paying off your credit card debt, then negotiation is a great tactic for lowering interest rates!

The truth is, you are not at the mercy of the credit card companies. One of the ways you can learn to budget better is to negotiate lower interest rates that you are paying on your credit cards so that you can pay down your balances sooner.

How it all works

Credit card companies want to keep you as a customer. In fact, most would rather offer you a lower interest rate than to lose your business to a competitor who may be offering you a better deal. The quickest way to save money and reduce your credit card debt is to talk down the costs - in other words, get the credit card company or bank to lower the interest rate it is charging you. Generally speaking, negotiating your interest rates can be a simple three step process. Here's what you need to do:

    Step one: Know how much interest you are paying.

    Pull out your statement and make a note of your current interest rate. What you're looking for is a place near the bottom of your statement that refers to your “finance charges” or “rate summary.”

    Step two: Find out what the competition is offering.

    Once you know what your rate is, find out how much better you might be able to do elsewhere. Go online and visit one of the many websites that specializes in consumer finance information and see what the prevailing interest rates are as well as any low or no interest introductory offers. 

    Step three: Ask to speak with someone who can make a difference.

    In other words, you don't want to try and negotiate your rates with someone who isn't in the position to actually help you. For this reason, ask to speak with a supervisor or manager. Once you have the right person on the phone, politely tell them that you have a competing offer from another credit card company or bank. Let them know that this competitor is willing to offer you a lower interest rate and unless they can match or beat it, you intend to transfer your balance over to the other company. And, since you did your homework, be sure to mention the competitor and actual interest rate so that they know that you mean business.

Although there is no guarantee that you'll be successful lowering your interest rate, the odds are definitely in your favor if you follow these three basic steps. If you don't get what you want, then apply for an account with a company that is willing to offer you better rates and then transfer over your balance. Finally, once you have established lower interest rates, make more than the minimum payment every month so that you can realize a zero balance more quickly.

Nobody said that learning to budget was easy. But with a little hard work and some smart budgeting strategies, you can reach your financial goals. Learn more about how to make a budget.




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