Getting a new credit card is something that makes a lot of people feel excited but how do you know that you’re getting the best interest rate possible? This is something you should definitely look at before you ever apply for a credit card because if you don’t, you’re probably going to end up getting hosed sooner or later. However, what should you do if you already have a number of credit cards and you want to negotiate a better interest rate than the one you already have? You might think that there’s nothing you can do and you’re stuck with whatever the company has set forth. The truth is, there are some things you can do to put the ball in your corner. Below are 10 different strategies that you can try.
1. Compare rates between cards
When you compare rates, it gives you more leverage to get the interest rate you really want. If a competitor is offering you a better rate, don’t be afraid to let the company you currently have a card with know that. Chances are, they will lower the rate to match or even beat the competitor’s interest rate because they don’t want to lose business.
2. Ask them
If you already have a few credit cards, there’s nothing stopping you from picking up the phone and asking for a better interest rate. The worst thing that can happen is that the card company says no. You really don’t have anything to lose by asking, and more than a few people have done exactly that and gotten things to go their way. The point is, you really don’t know unless you try.
3. Make it a point to ask companies where you’ve been a customer for a long time
If you’ve been a customer of a certain credit card company for several years, you have even more leverage when it comes to asking for a lower interest rate. Companies don’t typically like to lose business, especially not when it comes to their loyal customers. Therefore, they’re more likely to agree to what you’re asking if they count on your business as opposed to you being a new customer.
4. Keep asking
Even if you ask for a lower interest rate and the company says no, don’t let that stop you from asking again. In reality, you should make it a habit to ask for a lower rate at least once a year until you get the rate you want. If you keep asking them, they’re probably going to agree to do things your way eventually, especially once they figure out that your persistence isn’t likely to wear off.
5. Always be professional
Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with someone that’s rude and unprofessional. Obviously, no one likes to be treated this way. You don’t like it when other people do it to you, so it doesn’t make it okay for you to do it to them, even if you’re really angry. In fact, the nicer you are and the more that you’re able to maintain your composure, the more likely it is that you will get what you’re asking for.
6. Watch your credit
Interest rates are almost always based on your credit score, at least in part. If you want a better rate, make sure that you aren’t doing something to sabotage your own credit score without realizing it. At any rate, you should be checking your credit score a minimum of once a year to make sure that the information on it is correct.
7. Don’t spend too much
Try to keep your spending under control. This also affects your interest rate. If credit card companies find that you have more than about 35 percent of your yearly income in debt, you’re likely to get a much higher interest rate than you would otherwise. That’s why it’s important to keep a rein on your spending and make sure that you’re able to pay for the balances that you already have.
8. Don’t apply for a new card after making a big purchase
Remember that part about watching your credit rating? Buying something big like a house or a car can have an adverse impact on your credit rating, although this is temporary. It doesn’t change the fact that if you make a big purchase like this and then apply for a new credit card, you’re going to get a much higher interest rate than you would have otherwise. If you’re in the market for a new card, make sure you apply for it and get approved before you make a big purchase.
9. Pay your balance on time
One of the fastest ways to jack up the interest rate on your credit cards is to carry a big balance or even worse, miss a payment. This can add to a lot of additional fees which can quickly put you over your credit limit. All of this has an adverse effect on your credit rating and before you know it, your interest rates are going through the roof.
10. Pay more than the minimum due
A lot of people get into the bad habit of only paying the minimum balance due on their cards. This can quickly escalate into carrying a balance that you can no longer afford. If you want to get the best interest rates and then keep them, pay more than the minimum due. If possible, pay your balance off in full each month. If that’s not possible, try to pay at least double the minimum amount due until your balance is paid off.