Are you getting the best credit card rates possible? You’d better hope so. If you’re not, you could be throwing thousands of dollars down the drain without even realizing it. Want to know how to make sure the best credit card rates are on your monthly statements? Here are four tips that will help you do just that.
1. Watch Those Payments
The first and most critical step towards getting the best credit card rates is making each and every one of your credit card payments on time. One late payment and it’s like a credit card domino effect. The card you paid late experiences a rate increase and then your other cards’ interest rates are jacked up too.
How exactly does one credit card payment affect a totally different credit card? Welcome to the world of the Universal Default Agreement. When you default on one credit card, your other credit cards are given license to act as if you defaulted on those as well. As a result, your rates begin to jump. At this point, even the best credit card rates can soar to 20-percent or more.
Do yourself a favor — if you want the best credit card rates, make on-time payments priority number one.
2. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
Sometimes getting the best credit card rates is as easy as asking. Think your credit card company is charging too much? Tell them you want a rate decrease. If you’re a good customer who makes on-time payments each and every month (and you’re not already enjoying the lowest rate they can offer) your credit card company may be willing to reduce your rate to keep you as a customer.
If, at first, the person on the phone balks, tell them you want to talk to the manager. Explain to the manager that you can get a lower rate elsewhere (and will) if your needs are not accommodated. If it’s at all possible to lower your rate, they usually will.
3. Transfer Your Balances
If your current credit card company isn’t willing to lower your rates, don’t be afraid to jump ship. There are many companies out there that offer the best credit card rates and if your credit is up to par, they’ll be happy to transfer your balance over to a new account.
When transferring balances, just make sure you don’t get sucked in by a “teaser” rate. If the low rate jumps up six months from now, you’ll be back to square one. The best credit card rates are fixed rates — not limited-time offers.
4. Don’t Balk at Annual Fees
Sometimes getting the best credit card rates requires paying an annual fee — especially if you have less-than-perfect credit. If your credit situation isn’t exactly ideal, don’t balk at paying a low annual fee in exchange for getting the best credit card rates. If you have high balances and a lower rate allows you to pay your debt off for less, the annual fee can pay for itself.
The best credit card rates aren’t just a pipe dream. They’re there for the taking if you know how to get them. Don’t overpay for finance charges. Use the above four tips to make sure you’re getting the best credit card rates possible.