How to Lower Your Interest Rate With Discover Card

How much does 1 point lower your interest rate

If you have trouble keeping up with payments, Discover may help you.

Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

You can successfully receive a lower interest rate from Discover Card if you prepare in ways that differ from requests to other credit card companies. You have some leverage with Discover that can help you convince a representative to lower your rate on a permanent basis. You must have an unpaid balance each month for this method to work.

Before you call Discover Card, be sure you know the exact amount of your unpaid balance. Your most previous invoice may not reflect new charges. You may need to call just to get your balance, and then plan your interest-reduction call for the next day. The person who gives you your balance seldom has the authority to lower rates.

If you have received offers for zero-interest balance transfers, choose one or two that seem attractive and have them ready when you call Discover. These can serve as your conversation-starter with the representative. You can say something like, “I have all of these zero-interest offers to transfer my Discover balance, but I really like my Discover Card. Is there any negotiating room on my interest rate?” This question may help you get the attention of the customer service representative.

Once you have the representative’s attention, tell him that you would like to use Discover Card for all of your purchases because of the cash-back feature. Explain that you could use the card more if you had a lower interest rate, because you would be able to make higher payments and therefore have more buying power. The prospect of increased business from you may persuade the representative to lower your interest rate to get your business.

If you successfully lower your Discover Card rate, think about paying the same monthly payment you have been paying. More of your payments will go toward principal because of the lowered interest. You will have an opportunity to reduce your debt without increasing your payments.

Don’t be afraid to call back in a few months and ask for an even lower rate. The fact that the company lowered your rate once will signal the representative that you are a valued customer. Because you haven’t moved your Discover balance to another card, you can point out that you are a loyal customer.

Kevin Johnston writes for Ameriprise Financial, the Rutgers University MBA Program and Evan Carmichael. He has written about business, marketing, finance, sales and investing for publications such as "The New York Daily News," "Business Age" and "Nation's Business." He is an instructional designer with credits for companies such as ADP, Standard and Poor's and Bank of America.

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    What is APR? How does APR differ from standard interest rates?

    Article Category: Finance |

    How much does 1 point lower your interest rate

    In an ideal world, taking a loan would be simple. Apart from filling out the paperwork and receiving approval all you'd need to know is the amount of interest you have to pay. Take out $1,000 at 5% and your total repayment sum comes to $1,050. But, depending on the terms of your finance, on top of this you'll need to consider any additional costs such as processing fees, etc.

    Simple, right? In theory, yes. The confusion starts to set in once you factor in APR (Annual Percentage Rate).

    Before we move on to look at the specifics of APR, let's start with some very basic explanations.

    An interest rate is a fee, calculated as a percentage of the total loan amount, that you are charged for borrowing money. Most lenders refer to this as a base rate.

    We've already delved into the question, what is compound interest and how can it help you?. But to save you having to jump back and forth between pages, here's a quick explanation:

    When you take out a loan the lender calculates interest on a sliding scale. This figure is then used to work out what your monthly repayments will be.

    You borrow $1,000 with an APR of 3% over 3 years (assuming an annual APR calculation).

    Year 1 interest: 1,000 x 0.03 = 30 and 30 + 1,000 = 1,030

    Year 2 interest: 1,030 x 0.03 = 30.9 and 30.9 + 1,030 = 1061

    Year 3 interest: 1,061 x 0.03 = 31.83 and 31.83 + 1,061 = 1,092.83

    In total, you'll pay back $1,092.83 at the end of the finance period.

    Note: advertised APR figures are normally higher than the advertised interest rate because lenders bundle additional costs and fees into the rate shown. For peace of mind, and to ensure you know what you're going to pay, ask your lender exactly what fees are included in the APR figure they offer you.

    So, what is the difference between interest rate and APR?

    We've touched on it very briefly already, but let's go a little deeper. When you accept any kind of loan offer you should be shown two interest rates: the APR and the flat rate of interest.

    The yearly interest rate you see is exactly what it says: it's only the charge (in the form on interest) that you pay for borrowing money. There are no grey areas here - if the figure is 10% then that's the base rate you'll be charged. So, if you're lucky enough to find a lender who charges you only $45 for borrowing $1,000 then the rate you pay is 4.5% (45/1000).

    As we noted earlier, the way APR is calculated is a little more complex as it combines a number of additional fees charged by your lender. Included in the cost are prepaid interest, insurance, closing fees and any other costs that may be associated with the transaction. Combined, these factors mean the APR you're shown is higher than the base rate that lenders use to advertise their loan plans.

    Another factor to consider is the cost of moving loans from one supplier to another. APR is worked out on a sliding scale and your lender shows you figures based on the assumption that your debt will be held by them until it's finally paid off. If at some point you decide to shift your debt to another company then we strongly advise you check the sums. Although those lower interest rates look very appealing, if you keep jumping from one supplier to another, you might end up paying far more over the term.

    As with any form of lending, it's important to understand the terminology that money lenders wrap around their offers. But, even more important, having a reliable tool you can use to work out the financial impact of borrowing money will stand you in excellent stead before you even start the application process that's why we've created an interest rate calculator to give you an accurate view of both the interest and APR payments you'll be required to meet. If you would like to learn more about the different types of interest rate, read our article, what is the difference between nominal, effective and APR interest rates?

    Written by James Redden

    Please rate this article using the star rater below. If there is anything missing from the article, or any information you would like to see included, please contact me.


    What Are Mortgage Points and When Should I Buy One?

    By Brandon Cornett | © 2017, all rights reserved | Duplication prohibited

    Reader question: "I was told I could get a lower interest rate on a home loan if I paid points at closing. I'm not very clear on the relationship between these two things. What is a mortgage point, and when does it make sense to use them when buying a home?"

    Mortgage points are a form of prepaid interest. Basically, you're paying additional money up front to secure a lower interest rate on the loan. This strategy could save you a lot of money, if you keep the loan long enough. Thus, it's a strategy best reserved for a long-term stay. If you're only going to be in the house for a few years (as with a temporary relocation), it probably won't make sense to pay points.

    That's the short answer. Now let's take a closer look at mortgage points, and when it makes sense to use them.

    Definition: A mortgage point (also known as a discount point) is a type of prepaid interest on a home loan. One point is equal to one percent of the loan amount. With a $250,000 loan, one point would equal $2,500.

    Lenders will generally reduce the interest rate by one-eighth of a percent (0.125 percent) for every point paid, though the exact amount may vary. So if you started with an interest rate of 6.5 percent, and you paid a mortgage point to reduce it, you could end up with a revised rate of 6.375 percent.

    As a borrower, you must know exactly how much your rate will be reduced for paying mortgage points. This is the only way to calculate your savings over time. So, by extension, it's the only way to decide if this strategy makes sense in the first place.

    Under the right circumstances, the paying of points can benefit the lender as well as the borrower. Here's how:

    • The lender gets a higher yield on the loan, because the borrower is paying more than the stated interest rate. So it increases the lender's upfront profit.
    • The borrower can save money over the life of the loan, by securing a lower interest rate. In order to achieve this, however, the borrower must keep the loan for a certain period of time. We will talk more about this "break-even point" below.

    The lender's benefits are in the short term, while the borrower can benefit over a period of years.

    Many home buyers choose to pay mortgage points at closing. The goal here is to reduce the interest rate over the term of the loan. But when does it make financial sense to do this?

    Here's the rule of thumb. At some point during the payback period, you will reach the break-even point. This is where the money you save (with the reduced interest payments) begins to exceed the amount you paid to buy down the rate.

    Tip: The break-even point is when your total savings exceed the cost of paying for mortgage points at closing. If you sell or refinance the home before reaching this point, you'll have a net loss instead of a gain. So you need to think about your long-term plans before making a decision.

    This will be much easier to understand once we plug in some numbers.

    Does it make sense to pay mortgage points at closing? To answer this question, you need to know two things: (1) your loan amount, and (2) the time when your savings begin to exceed your costs. Remember, a point equals one percent of the loan amount. That's the first piece of information you need. Next, you need to determine your break-even point. You need to now how many months you'll need to keep the loan to justify the cost of the mortgage points.

    Here's how to do it:

    1. Find out what your monthly payment will be without using points.
    2. Determine your reduced payment when paying points at closing.
    3. Determine your monthly savings by subtracting the lower payment from the higher.
    4. Divide (A) the amount of money the lender will charge for points by (B) the amount you save each month. The number you get from this calculation shows you how many months it will take to reach the "break even" stage.

    Let's say I take out a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in the amount of $200,000.

    1. With no points and a 7-percent interest rate, monthly payment = $1,330.60.
    2. If I pay one point at closing ($2,000), my reduced payment = $1,313.86.
    3. I subtract the lower number from the higher number to determine my monthly savings. Based on these numbers, I would save about $16.74 per month. That's not a very big savings. So you can already see that it will take some time to recoup my $2,000 expense.
    4. Next, I would divide the cost of paying the point ($2,000) by the monthly savings. 2,000 divided by 16.74 = 119.

    Now I've determined my break-even point. It's 119 months, or about ten years. In order to recoup the $2,000 expense of paying the point at closing, I would have to keep the loan for about ten years. This is just to break even, mind you. In order to truly benefit from this strategy, I would need to keep the loan beyond the break-even date -- the longer the better.

    Mortgage points are a form of prepaid interest. One point equals one percent of the loan amount. By paying this amount at closing, you could secure a lower interest rate on your loan. But the rate reduction alone does not justify using the strategy. You will need to keep the mortgage for a certain period of time to recoup your expense. Thus, paying points might make sense if you plan on living in the home for more than a few years.

    Of course, this adds to your overall closing costs. So you should get an estimate of those costs before making a decision about points.

    If you would like to learn more about this subject, you can use the search tool at the top of this page. There are more than 1,000 home-buying articles on this website. And the quick-search tool is the easiest way to find what you need. Good luck.


    How To Get The Lowest Mortgage Interest Rate Possible

    How much does 1 point lower your interest rateI must be mad, because after multiple mortgage refinances, I’ve decided to take my own advice on improving my cash flow further by trying to refinance my mortgage again! I say “trying” because getting a mortgage or refinancing a mortgage is still not a slam dunk like it was pre-2007.

    Lending standards are strict with

    729 being the average credit score for denied mortgage applicants. Furthermore, my debt-to-income ratio could be a problem because 100% of my 1099 (freelance income) won’t count for 2014 because banks require two years of 1099 income, and I’ve only got 14 months worth.

    Can you believe that? Even if I made $800,000 in freelance income over the past twelve months, big banks would still disavow all of it and likely reject even a small mortgage refinance amount if I had no other income. Banks should discount 1099 income by some amount, but not by 100%. There’s a growing misconception now that full-time income is more stable. A full-time employee is betting on one horse. An independent contractor can bet on multiple horses.

    We’re close to all-time lows again in 2H2015. Volatility is up, collapsing oil prices are stoking fears of weak global consumer demand, and chaos reigns once again in Europe. I’m glad there isn’t anymore US government shutdown drama at the very least.

    I’ve got two years left on a

    $1 million dollar jumbo 5/1 ARM at $4,338 a month at 2.625%. My goal is to refinance this puppy down to a 2.25% 5/1 ARM at $3,822 a month, for a cost of less than $3,000. The annual interest savings is $3,750, and the monthly cash flow increase is $516 or $6,192 a year. That’s a good move towards my unwavering quest to generate $200,000 a year in passive income.

    I’ve looked everywhere, and I can’t find a better rate than 2.25% for a 5/1 ARM jumbo with zero points. This is what I did:

    1) Pressed my existing mortgage lender: I called Citibank, the bank that has my $1 million loan, and asked what they could give me. They first said 2.625%, which is exactly what my rate is now. I pressed them to give me a deal as a CitiGold client, so they brought the rate down to 2.375% at the end of our negotiations. This was not good enough because a mortgage refinance takes time and costs money. Saving 0.25% would only be worth it if I had a $2 million+ mortgage. My trusty Citimortgage officer who did my other deals had left.

    2) Shopped around online: I then filled out my mortgage details on LendingTree Mortgage to see what their bankers could come up with. I like LendingTree because they have one of the largest mortgage lending networks online, and they aggressively compete for your business. Within five minutes of filling out the application, I got several phone calls and e-mails. They are super efficient, so don’t be surprised. I wanted to use LendingTree to make sure Citibank was indeed providing a good rate. Some of the LendingTree-referred bankers said they could match 2.375%, while one said he could do 2.25%, but for a quarter point in cost. It’s not a problem to get a mortgage with an institution that might not have a branch close by. But I prefer having a branch I can walk into and talk to someone. Call me old school.

    3) Tracked down my old mortgage officer now at a new bank: Armed with six solid mortgage offers, I then Googled the name of my old Citibank mortgage broker who left to go to JP Morgan Chase. I called him on a Sunday and he surprisingly picked up. I told him I want a 2.25% 5/1 ARM jumbo loan for a cost of under $3,000. I mentioned my six other bids, and highlighted the collapse in the 10-year yield to 1.85% to get him to accept. He told me he’d look into things because the rate was so low. I knew that bringing over new business would be huge for him, so I filled out a two-page Chase mortgage application. Having an official application would give him more firepower to convince his manager he has a very serious customer. It worked. I was able to get a “no risk” mortgage refinance because his manager agreed to not only accept 2.25% for a 5/1 jumbo ARM, but will also waive the

    $800 appraisal fee if my mortgage refinance were to fail. I have nothing to lose, except for time.

    4) Dangled the carrot: As a bonus, I offered to open up a savings, checking, and potentially investment account with the new bank to get them to give me the lowest rate possible. Banks want sticky clients with multiple accounts for cross selling and revenue generation purposes. There is no legal quid pro quo that banks can use to get you better terms. But every big bank has a tiered client system in place where clients with more assets get better access, rates, and benefits. I’m planning on opening up a $25,000 savings account with Chase as a good gesture. Each savings account is FDIC insured up to $250,000, so if you happen to have more than $250,000 saved per individual, you might as well diversify your savings anyway.

    Being armed with knowledge will save you money! In fact, being armed with as much knowledge and options as possible is the key to ANY good negotiation. Don’t go into a discussion blind. Be willing to spend the time to make things happen.

    Now that I’m back in the mortgage refinance process, I’d like to re-share some information that I think will help every single mortgage refinancer and borrower around.

    Knowing when to refinance is like being a bond trader. Bond traders obsess over inflation assumptions, and you should have at least a basic assumption as well. There has been tremendous monetary expansion since the economic downturn, which should ultimately lead to higher inflation. Basic economic theory says that for every new $1 dollar bill printed, there will eventually be a $1 increase in prices in the overall basket of goods. The key word is eventually, which could be decades away.

    So many Wall Street veterans have gotten inflation and interest rates wrong over the past decade by calling for a rise in interest rates. I am a firm believer that interest rates will stay low for a very long time because there’s still a lot of slack in the system, a lot of volatility in the global markets, and there’s also very efficient monetary policy around the world thanks to technology. Technology and diplomatic relationships allow Central Bankers to coordinate monetary policy in an effective manner to guide desired inflation and interest rates. When Central Bankers don’t coordinate, like when the Swiss government decided to depeg from the Euro, that’s when chaos ensues.

    Those with adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) are this century’s winners because rates are resetting at equal to lower levels than when they were originally fixed. Those who’ve been borrowing with 30-year fixed mortgages have been losers because they’ve been paying 1-2% higher interest rates than necessary. Sure, there is perhaps more peace of mind knowing that your mortgage interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan. But most people either pay off their loans in under 30 years or move every seven years. Bankers push people into fixed rate mortgages because they can earn a higher spread.

    Inflation has been coming down now for over 30 years, and I see little reason to expect inflation to suddenly jump higher given the tremendous output gap in the economy. If inflation does start rising, at least you know that your assets are by definition also rising in nominal value.

    The figure to watch is the 10-year US treasury yield. The spreads between treasury yields and bank mortgage rates have narrowed since the crisis. Most long term duration mortgages are related to the 10-yr bond yield, hence whenever you see the stock market crashing, watch bond prices rise, and yields fall. This is the exact time to refinance.

    How much does 1 point lower your interest rate

    In an ideal world, it’s best to match the time it will take for you to pay down your mortgage and the fixed duration of your mortgage once you’ve made assumptions about inflation and interest rates. For example, if you need 30 years to pay off your mortgage, then it’s probably most prudent to get a 30-year fixed mortgage, even though the interest rate is higher than an ARM mortgage.

    But let’s say you’ve got assets elsewhere you could easily sell to pay off your mortgage if you wanted to. Then, you should consider getting as short a duration mortgage as possible to save on interest cost. For example, many multi-millionaires I know borrow based on a 1 year ARM where interest rates are 50 basis points lower than a 3/1 or 5/1 ARM. If interest rates rise drastically after the 1 year ARM is over, the borrow can simply choose to pay down the mortgage.

    If you look at mortgages in places like Hong Kong and Singapore where property fever is high, almost everyone borrows at a 1 year fixed rate that floats after. The US is a special country which not only has mortgage interest deductions, but also fixed rate loans of varying lengths.

    Given the yield curve is upward sloping, longer duration loans have higher interest rates. This is a truism for the most part, except during times of extreme economic duress, where the yield curve flattens, or inverts given people want their money as liquid as possible. Assuming a normal upward sloping yield curve, you will pay a higher rate for a longer duration mortgage.

    How much does 1 point lower your interest rate

    Yield Curve: It costs more to borrow at longer durations

    The are a bunch of costs that go into refinancing, which unfortunately eat into the savings of refinancing. The way to think about costs is to get the total cost of refinancing divided by the monthly savings of refinancing to see how many months it takes to break even.

    For example, let’s say it costs $3,000 to refinance a $400,000 loan from 5.25% to 4.25%. Your monthly payment goes from $2,375 down to $2,135 for a savings of $240. Take the $3,000 in refinancing costs divided by $240 = 12.5. In other words, it takes 12.5 months for your cash flow to start benefiting from a refinance.

    If you plan to take 360 months (30 yr fixed) to pay off your mortgage, your actual savings would be $83,400 (347 months X $240) making the $3,000 cost to refinance a no-brainer. Ironically, you save less if you pay off your loan quicker from a refinancing stand point. From a bank’s point of view, this is called “prepayment risk.” They don’t want you to pre-pay because they want to make as much money from you for as long as possible.

    Savvy readers will realize that there’s a difference in cash flow savings vs. interest savings. Even though my $1 million mortgage refinance will drop down to a $3,882 a month payment from $4,338, the $456 a month savings is not all interest savings because I’ll be paying less principal as well. The easiest way to calculate the interest savings is to take the mortgage amount and multiply it by the difference between the interest rates e.g. $1,000,000 X (2.625% – 2.25%) = $3,750. Now take the cost of refinance and divide it by the interest savings to calculate a truer break even number.

    You can also ask your mortgage officer what the cost would be to refinance at a higher rate. In this example, you could get a “credit” to your costs if you refinanced for 4.75% instead of 4.25%, thereby having less money leave your pocket. The general rule of thumb is that if you plan to stay in your house for over 5 years, and it costs no more than 20 months until you break even, you should refinance. I personally shoot for a break even cost of less than 12 months.

    It would be nice if one could just snap one’s fingers and change the terms of a loan. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple and you need to spend at least five hours of your time speaking to your mortgage representative and preparing and signing the paperwork. Furthermore, the whole mortgage refinance process could take more than three months, as was the case with my previous mortgage refinance. A good agent should be able to tell you all the necessary documents you need to get things going.

    The mortgage process generally takes about a month and a half given the bank needs to pay off the loan, send an appraiser to figure out the loan-to-value ratio, check your income and assets, go through the title company to get the proper documents, pull insurance records from the homeowner’s association, and get you to sign everything. It’s the underwriter who is going to give you the hardest time, so be prepared for battle.

    The less you make, and the less busy you are, the more you should look into refinancing! If on the other hand, you’re happy with your loan, don’t have a lot of time, and make a ton of money, your time is worth more than the headache you will go through to save $16,000 bucks in the example above.

    A lot of people think that all debt is bad. These are probably the same people who probably haven’t been able to successfully leverage debt to build their net worth as much as they could. I do believe that too much debt is bad. The banks have determined that having a debt-to-income ratio of over 42% will not qualify one to refinance or get a loan.

    As an investor or CEO, one of your goals is to utilize the right mix of debt and equity to provide the highest return on equity possible. The key is to not take on too much of either to avoid risk of insolvency. When interest rates are low, borrowing money becomes cheaper than raising money through equity. When interest rates are high and equity valuations are low, the reverse is true.

    If you are a mortgage borrower, then you actually want inflation to come back. Inflation means your underlying assets – in this case your home – is inflating at a higher rate than before. You want inflation as an asset owner. Meanwhile, inflation will pull interest rates higher, making your mortgage that much more valuable to HOLD. If you paid off your 2.25% mortgage and decide you want to borrow money again in an interest rate environment that’s now at 5%, you’re hurting.

    In other words, taking out a mortgage for X amount is like SHORTING a bond for X amount. Bond values fall in a rising interest rate environment because investors sell bonds in favor of higher interest yielding bonds.

    I know this post is a lot to take in, but if you can understand everything I’ve written in this post and check around online and offline for as many solid mortgage quotes as possible, you will be in a much better position to negotiate a great mortgage rate at a reasonable cost.

    Shop around for a mortgage: Check the latest mortgage rates online through LendingTree. They’ve got one of the largest networks of lenders that compete for your business. Your goal should be to get as many written offers as possible and then use the offers as leverage to get the lowest interest rate possible from them or your existing bank. When banks compete, you win.

    Invest in real estate more surgically: If you don’t want to constantly pay massive property taxes, don’t have the downpayment to buy property, or don’t want to tie up your liquidity in physical real estate, take a look at RealtyShares, one of the largest real estate crowdsourcing companies today. You can invest in higher returning deals around the country for as little as $5,000. Historical returns have ranged between 9% – 15%, much higher than the average stock market return. It’s free to explore and they’ve got the best platform around.

    How much does 1 point lower your interest rate

    A rigorous screening ensures only the best operators make it on the RealtyShares platform.


    Question: How much interest am I paying when I revolve balances?

    If you don't pay off your credit card balance each month, you're paying more than you should in interest. But how much? Enter your credit card balance, your interest rate, and an average monthly payment, then choose a time period to see how much interest you'd actually pay over that span.

    You will pay 0 in interest charges over that time period.

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    • Federally insured by NCUA
    • Rates as low As 9.74% APR
    • Unlimited 1% cash back rewards in the form of an automatic donation to any nonprofit, K-12 school, university, or religious organization of your choice.
    • No Annual Fee.
    • Rewards are tax-deductible.
    • One time bonus donation of $10 to your chosen nonprofit after your first purchase.
    • Ability to support up to three nonprofits at once. You can change the nonprofits you support at any time through your online donation dashboard.
    • Low APR between Prime + 6.99%-16.99% dependent on creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee of either $10 or 5% of the amount of each Balance Transfer, whichever is greater.
    • Receive all the benefits of a World MasterCard such as: extended warranty, MasterCard global service, concierge services, ID theft protection, price guarantee, and many more exclusive services
    • Chip and Apple Pay enabled

    Disclaimer: The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.