Finance Blog

Four Ways to Help Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate

Written by Ilyce Glink on December 18, 2013 in Credit  |   2 comments

A high credit card interest rate can make it nearly impossible to pay off credit card debt. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help lower your interest rate and help make your credit card debt a little more manageable.

paying off credit card debtPaying off credit card debt can be difficult—and expensive—if you have high interest rates with which to contend.

High credit card interest rates can cost you thousands of dollars, especially if you’re carrying a high balance. According to Bankrate’s credit card minimum payment calculator, if you were to carry a $10,000 balance on a card with a 24 percent interest rate and only pay the minimum—$400—each month, it would take you more than 16 years and about $19,775 to pay off the debt.

If you were to carry that same balance on a card with a 12 percent interest rate and still pay only $400 per month, it would take you 11 years and about $13,267 to pay off the debt. That’s a five-year, $6,500 difference.

Credit tips: Steps you can take to help lower your interest rate

Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take that may help you lower your credit card interest rates and save money.

After you’ve figured out how much interest you’re paying (it will be listed as the annual percentage rate, or APR, at the top or bottom of your credit card statement), it’s time to do some research.

Pull your credit score from each of the three national credit reporting agencies. You can do so either through each company’s website or through annualcreditreport.com for a small fee. Knowing your score may help you negotiate a better rate.

Step 1: Research what your APR should be based on your credit score. Once you have your credit score, check out websites like bankrate.com and credit.com to find out the APR that card issuers are offering to other consumers with your credit score.

Step 2: Find out what deals new customers are getting. Many card companies offer perks to new customers, and you can use these to your advantage. Find out what rates or deals your credit issuer is offering. Is it offering a single-digit interest rate for the first year? Bonus cash-back points? Airline miles? Make a list and keep it handy for your phone call.

Step 3: Call your credit card company. Once you know your credit score, the average APR offered to consumers with your score, and the perks your card issuer is offering to new customers, it’s time to get on the phone.

When you’re on the line with a customer service rep, explain that you’re after a lower interest rate. While he or she may say no the first time around, it’s important to be persistent. Using the information you have, make it clear that you know you can get a better rate elsewhere.

If the first rep says no, ask for that person’s identification and then ask for a supervisor. You may need to speak to a few people before your request is answered.

Keep in mind that you may not have any luck with your company, especially if you’ve been late on payments or have only been a customer for a short time.

Step 4: Consider other options. If your credit card company is unwilling to work with you, you may consider transferring your balance. Often, card companies will offer consumers single-digit APRs if they transfer a balance to a new or existing card. Keep in mind that this APR doesn’t last forever, and if you can’t pay the balance off in the given time period, you may find yourself paying even more interest once the time is up.

Getting a better interest rate on your credit card debt takes a little legwork, patience, and effort. Don’t feel discouraged if you can’t get it done in one phone call. Credit card companies lower interest rates every day of the year. Arm yourself with the right knowledge and you could save thousands of dollars.

Ilyce Glink is the author of ten books, including the bestselling 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask. Her nationally syndicated column, “Real Estate Matters,” appears in more than 125 newspapers and Websites, and her online “Ask Ilyce” columns are read by hundreds of thousands of people every month. She is a top-rated radio host on WSB Radio in Atlanta, the Home Equity blogger at CBS MoneyWatch.com, host of the Internet program “Expert Real Estate Tips,” managing editor of the Equifax Personal Finance Blog, and publisher of ThinkGlink.com.


  1. Elaine says:

    If you try other credit card companies with lower interest rates, wouldn’t that lower your credit score? The more credit you apply for with inquiries could hurt you.

  2. Gene F. Cooper,USMC/Retired says:

    There is a problem that is in play that I have seen when moving around and in the financial arena. The melanin in my skin makes me subject to a much than less equal chance of receiving that which my credit history and score indicates. Case in point, my credit score was 752 at a point when I attempted to make a purchase of a new car for my wife. The score this finance company had set as a score for the interest rate they were going to charge me, would have had me paying an additional 14,000.00 over the life of the contract. The score that they claimed they went by was in the low 600′s, which was well below all three of the scores I had with each of the three major companies. I went to my credit union, barrowed the cash, paid them the cash price. They had even increased the length of the life of the contract from 60 months to 74 months. If I had late payments, or charge offs, and credit scores under 700, maybe they would have just cause. I really do not believe the credit system is set up for minorities.

Leave a Comment

Name :

Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Credit Archive

Stay Informed Sign up for our FREE Equifax email Newsletter