How to Request a Lower Interest Rate on a Credit Card
Call each of your credit card companies and ask for an interest rate reduction.
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In recessionary times, many consumers are strapped for cash and having difficulty making ends meet. One way to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year is to secure a lower interest rate on the credit cards you hold. But you must take the initiative and call the credit card company.
1. Detail each card you own as to current interest rate and outstanding balances. List the highest to lowest interest rates. Include contact information for each card so it is handy when you make your telephone calls.
2. Research what other credit card offers are available. Look at cardweb.com to see which card companies are offering lower rates. Offers you have received in the mail may have lower rates for which you have been preapproved.
3. Assess how good a customer you have been. Card companies are reluctant to lower rates for customers who do not pay on time or do not pay the minimum balance each month. If you have been a good customer, your chances of having the interest rate reduced are greater.
4. Make a script before you make the phone call. If you are a good customer, the bank does not want to lose you. Here's a sample script from BCSalliance.com from its article "Credit Cards: Ask for a Lower Credit Card Interest Rate": I am requesting that you reduce my current interest rate of 16.9 percent to 8.9 percent so that it is in line with what is available in the current market. I feel this is a fair rate since at least three major credit card issuers are offering it to new customers like me who have an excellent credit rating."
5. Speak with a supervisor if necessary. If you do not get satisfaction from speaking with the customer representative, a supervisor may have more authority to lower your rate.
6. Consider switching cards. If you have offers from other card issuers, switch to one with a lower interest rate. Check the fine print on balance transfers from your high-interest card, and if the fees are reasonable, move your balance to the new card. Then consider canceling your other card.
8 Best Low APR Interest Credit Cards – Reviews & Comparison
Generally, it’s wise to avoid carrying balances on your credit cards. Credit card balances quickly rack up interest charges, eating into your monthly personal budget and hampering your ability to save and invest. Over time, unpaid credit card balances could compel you to enroll in credit counseling, or even cause you to declare bankruptcy.
However, it’s sometimes impossible to avoid carrying credit card balances. For instance, if your car breaks down and you have no other way to get to work, charging the repair to your credit card is better than losing your job – even if you know it’ll take some time to pay off the balance.
Low APR credit cards make it easier to carry balances from month to month because they don’t accrue interest as rapidly, and their carried balances grow more slowly as a result. If you habitually carry balances from month to month, or want to do so in the future without paying through the nose, consider these low APR credit card options.
Long Introductory APR Period; Free Monthly Credit Score; No Penalty APR
The information related to the Chase Slate credit card has been collected by MoneyCrashers and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
Chase Slate® has a nice 0% introductory APR period for balance transfers and purchases. While the period isn’t quite as long as Chase’s Citi peers, this is still a great card for transferring high-interest balances. In fact, Slate® won CardRatings.com’s “Best Balance Transfer” award five years in a row – from 2012 to 2016, due to the fact that it waives balance transfer fees during the first 60 days of card membership.
Another Chase Slate® perk: no penalty APR. On the other hand, purchase, balance transfer, and cash advance APRs are on the high side of the low APR category. Fees are on the high side too.
- Sign-up Bonus. There’s no sign-up bonus.
- Introductory APR. 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.
- APR. After the introductory period, the variable APR ranges from 15.74% to 24.49%, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing rates. Cash advance APR is 25.74%, also variable. There’s no penalty APR.
- Fees. There’s no annual fee. After a 60-day fee-free period, balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5% of the transferred amount. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.
- Other Perks. Card membership comes with a free monthly FICO score.
Low Regular APR; No Fees of Any Kind
The PenFed Promise Card boasts a low regular APR and no fees of any kind – no late fees, annual fees, balance transfer fees, or cash advance fees. Although there’s no introductory purchase APR, there’s a low introductory balance transfer rate. And there’s no penalty APR, so you don’t have to worry about what might happen if you make a late payment. However, the lack of an introductory purchase APR is a significant drawback.
- Sign-up Bonus. When you spend at least $1,500 in your first 90 days of card membership, you get a $100 statement credit.
- Introductory APR. There’s no regular introductory APR. The introductory balance transfer APR is 4.99% for 12 months.
- APR. Purchase, balance transfer, and cash advance APR is a variable 9.24% to 17.99%, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates.
- Fees. There aren’t any fees, period.
- Other Perks. The PenFed Promise Visa Card is one of the few low APR credit cards with a sign-up bonus.
See our PenFed Promise Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.
Solid Intro APR Period and No Penalty APR; Great Cash Back Rewards
Although it doesn’t have the lowest APR around, Discover it does have a nice cash back rewards program. All purchases earn 1% cash back, with no spending caps or restrictions. Purchases in quarterly rotating spending categories (such as department store or gas station purchases) earn 5% cash back, up to a $1,500 quarterly limit across all active categories. Quarters begin January 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st.
You can redeem your cash in any amount as a statement credit, bank account deposit, check, or Amazon.com purchase credit. Plus, Discover doubles all cash back earned in the first year of card membership.
In addition to the cash back rewards program, the main perks of the Discover it card include a solid 0% introductory APR period, no penalty APR, no annual fee, and a free FICO credit score with card membership. Drawbacks include costly cash advances.
- Sign-up Bonus. Aside from the double cash back offer in your first year, there’s no sign-up bonus.
- Introductory APR. 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 14 months.
- APR. After the introductory APR period ends, purchase and balance transfer APR is 11.74% to 23.74%, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. There’s no penalty APR.
- Key Fees. There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Balance transfers cost a flat 3% of the total amount transferred. The cash advance fee is the greater of $10 or 5% of the advanced amount, plus a 25.74% APR.
- Other Perks. Discover’s Freeze It feature lets you turn off many account features, including the ability to make new purchases and cash advances, at the click of a button. The Discover it card also comes with a free FICO credit score. Also, at the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover automatically doubles all the cash back you earned over the previous 12 months.
See our Discover it Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.
Solid Introductory Rate; Low Fees; Cash Back Rewards
Discover it Chrome has an even lower purchase and balance transfer APR than the regular Discover it card, plus minimal fees and a nice 0% introductory APR period. One drawback is the penalty APR, which can range to nearly 30%.
Like the regular Discover it card, Discover it Chrome has a nice cash back rewards program that benefits cardholders who pay their balances in full each cycle. Dining and gas purchases earn 2% cash back, up to $1,000 per quarter, and an unlimited 1% after reaching the spending cap. All other purchases also earn an unlimited 1%. You can redeem your cash back in any amount, and Discover automatically doubles all cash back earned in the first year.
- Sign-up Bonus. There’s no sign-up bonus, aside from the first-year double cash back deal.
- Introductory APR. 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 14 months.
- APR. After the introductory period, purchase and balance transfer APR ranges between 11.74% and 23.74%, depending on creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. Penalty APR ranges up to 29.99%.
- Key Fees. There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Balance transfers cost 3% of the transferred amount.
- Other Perks. There’s no late fee on your first late payment. This card also comes with the Freeze It feature and free FICO credit score. As with the flagship Discover it, Discover it Chrome automatically doubles all the cash back you earn during your first year.
See our Discover it Chrome Card Review for more information. Find out how you can apply for this card here.
Very Low APR; Minimal Fees
The Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard® is not your typical credit card – and that’s generally a good thing. Dubbed “the first social credit card,” it’s built around an active user community that shares financial tips and advice among members. All Ring cardholders earn automatic entry into the Giveback program, a profit-sharing arrangement in which all Ring cardholders receive a portion of Barclaycard’s profit based on their level of activity in the Ring community and the number of new cardholders they successfully refer. You can donate your Giveback earnings to the charity of your choice, take them as cash, or apply them as a statement credit.
Additionally, Ring has a low purchase, balance transfer, and cash advance APR. There’s a long 0% introductory APR period, and fees are minimal too.
- Sign-up Bonus. There’s no sign-up bonus.
- Introductory APR. There is a 0% introductory APR for 15 months.
- APR. Purchase, balance transfer, and cash advance APR is 13.74% for all cardholders, though it may vary over time as prevailing interest rates change.
- Fees. There’s no annual fee, balance transfer fees, or foreign transaction fees. Cash advances cost a flat $3, regardless of size. Late and returned payments cost $27.
- Other Perks. You get complementary access to your FICO score in real time.
Very Long Introductory APR; No Late Fees; VIP Perks
The Citi Diamond Preferred Card has the same great introductory APR period as the Citi Simplicity Card, plus a slightly better regular APR for purchases and balance transfers. However, there is a penalty APR, and fees are a bit higher. One of the biggest benefits of the Citi Diamond Preferred Card is its slew of VIP perks, including exclusive deals at major retailers and personalized concierge service for travel and event booking.
- Sign-up Bonus. There’s no sign-up bonus.
- Introductory APR. 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 21 months.
- APR. After the introductory period, the variable purchase and balance transfer APR ranges from 13.49% to 23.49%, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing rates. Cash advance APR is 26.24%, also variable. Penalty APR ranges up to 29.99%.
- Fees. There’s no annual fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Foreign transactions run 3% of the total amount. Returned and late payments cost $35.
- Other Perks. You get free, 24/7 access to personal concierges authorized to book hotel rooms, flights, concert tickets, and other engagements on your behalf. Through Citi Easy Deals, you’re privy to exclusive discounts and deals at well-known retailers, such as CVS and Gap.
No Late Fees or Penalty APR; Very Long Introductory APR
With a super-long 0% introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers, Citi Simplicity Card is great for transferring high-interest balances from other credit cards. Fees are reasonable here as well – there’s no annual fee or late payment fee. And there’s no penalty APR. On the other hand, the regular purchase and balance transfer APR is on the high side, and cash advances are a bit pricey.
- Sign-up Bonus. There’s no sign-up bonus.
- Introductory APR. 0% purchase and balance transfer APR for 21 months.
- APR. After the introductory period, the variable purchase and balance transfer APR is 14.49% to 24.49%, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR is also 14.49% to 24.49%, with no introductory period. Notably, there’s no penalty APR.
- Fees. There’s no annual fee or late fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Foreign transactions run 3% of the total amount. Returned payments cost $35.
- Other Perks. Customer service is well above average. When you call in for phone support, you can say “representative9rdquo; at any time to skip the annoying automated menu. Also, the Citi Price Rewind feature can reduce the cost of certain purchases. After you make a purchase, Citi automatically searches for lower prices at competing retailers. If it finds a lower price within 60 days, you receive a refund for the difference, up to $300 per item and $1,200 per year.
No Annual Fee; Flexible Rewards
The BBVA Compass Visa Signature card is a low APR/rewards hybrid. It has an attractive introductory balance transfer period and a shorter, but still nice, introductory purchase APR period. The regular APR can be as low as 9.49% for folks with excellent credit, lower than many competing cards. The lack of a penalty APR is a nice perk for cardholders who occasionally miss payments. The account opening bonus is a good deal too. However, fees are often on the high side.
The BBVA Compass Visa Signature card comes with a solid rewards program that pays one CompassPoint per $1 spend, with no spending caps or rotating categories. CompassPoints are redeemable for airfare, hotel purchases, gift cards, charitable donations, and more. Their value ranges on either side of $0.01/point, depending on how they’re redeemed.
- Sign-up Bonus. There is currently no sign-up bonus for this card.
- Introductory APR. 0% on purchases for 6 months and 0% to 3.99% on balance transfers for 12 months, depending on your creditworthiness.
- APR. After the introductory periods, the variable purchase and balance transfer APR ranges from 11.99% to 29.99%, depending on creditworthiness and prevailing rates. The cash advance APR is 22.99% to 29.99%. There’s no penalty APR.
- Key Fees. There’s no annual fee. Cash advances and balance transfers cost the greater of $10 or 4%. Foreign transactions run 3%. Late payments cost $38, while returned payments run $27.
- Other Perks. Cardholders get personalized concierge service when booking entertainment and travel, similar to Citi’s VIP program.
Find out how you can apply for this card here.
Most of the cards on this list have variable APRs that fall within a fairly wide range. When you open a new card account, the issuer assigns your APR at a point within that range, based on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates at the time. If you have an excellent credit score and unblemished credit history, your rate is likely to be at the lower end of the range. If your credit isn’t stellar, expect a higher rate. As time goes on, your variable APR rises or falls in response to fluctuations in prevailing interest rates and changes in your creditworthiness.
That said, the low-APR credit card scene demonstrates that life really is full of compromises and trade-offs. In exchange for low interest rates and, in many cases, minimal fees, these credit cards dial back the rewards. Most don’t have any credit card rewards at all, though a few – notably Discover it and Discover it Chrome – break the mold.
If you prefer credit cards that actually pay you to spend money, check out our cash back and travel rewards credit card lists. Just remember, rewards credit cards are most effective when you pay off your balance in full each month. Carrying a balance for more than a month or two can completely offset the value of your rewards, and could actually end up costing you money.
What’s your favorite low APR credit card?
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
How to Lower Credit Card Interest and Save (Hint: Just Ask)
Most people don’t bother asking for a lower credit card interest rate. Yet, earlier this year a survey by CreditCards.com found that 78 percent of those who do ask are successful in getting their interest rate lowered.
Under no circumstance is a credit card company obligated to provide you with lower credit card interest rates. However, it is expensive for them to acquire new customers. And the last thing they want is to lose you to a competitor.
That means if you know the right way to ask for it, you’ll know how to lower credit card interest in no time.
When a credit card issuer considers you for a lower interest rate, they’re going to look at the state of your credit. Not only with them but with all of your creditors.
The best way to build and maintain positive credit is to:
- Pay your bills on time, every time
- Never use more than 30 percent of your available credit card limits
- If possible, return your credit card balances to zero every month
- If you have high credit card balances, pay them down
- Keep new applications for credit to a minimum
The longer you’ve had positive credit the better. Remember, a positive credit history is a key ingredient for a good credit score.
However, pay special attention to your credit history over the past 12 months before reaching out to your credit card servicer.
Never assume you know your credit scores or what’s on your credit reports. They change all the time.
Before calling your credit card company, take a look at your credit reports from all three major credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. It’s important to see all three because what’s on one report may not be on another.
You can request free copies from each one every 12 months through AnnualCreditReport.com. Or, you can purchase them directly through Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
As for your credit scores, each of the three credit reporting bureaus will have its own credit score for you, depending on what’s in the report they have on file. You can purchase your scores from all three bureaus at myFICO.com.
But, before paying for anything, you may want to consider signing up for credit monitoring sites that give you access to your scores and reports for free. Examples of these include CreditKarma (for Equifax and TransUnion) and Credit.com (for Experian).
If you come across anything on your credit report that’s not looking right to you, it could be dragging down your credit score. In that case, it’s more important to being the process of disputing errors with the credit bureaus than trying to get a lower interest rate on your credit card.
And if you see some recent late payments you’d forgotten about, you may want to rack up a longer history of on-time payments before giving your credit card issuer a call.
Otherwise, if your credit is better now than it was when the card was issued to you, then you’re good to go.
Could you get a lower interest rate on a credit card from a different issuer?
Find out as soon as you can if this is the case. This can serve as leverage when you call and ask for a lower rate on your existing card.
Look at credit card comparison sites that let you search offers by credit type (Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor, Bad). Keep a list of these offers so you can quote them to the customer service rep when you call.
You’ve learned all the information you should gather. Now it’s simply a matter of picking up the phone and asking for it. Here’s a step-by-step script for how to lower credit card interest.
First, call the number on the back of your credit card. Politely tell the customer service representative that you’re calling to ask for a lower credit card interest rate.
Tell them how long you’ve been a customer with them. And (this is key) that you want to remain one with them. However, you’re considering other credit card offers with lower interest rates.
Then ask if they can match the interest rates you quote to them. If they can’t, ask how close to them they can get. Make sure they understand that you are considering canceling your card with them if they cannot get you a better rate.
If they offer you a lower rate you’re happy with, thank them and ask for written confirmation. But if they tell you they cannot lower your interest rate, ask to speak to a supervisor.
And if you’re unable to speak to a supervisor, or they’re unable to help you, call back a different day.
As disappointing as it will be, you do have a couple of paths you can take if you’re unable to lower your credit card interest rate at this time.
If you don’t have a high balance that’s racking up interest every month, consider waiting it out. Give your credit card company a call six months from now and see if you get a different answer.
If you have a high balance that could really use a lower interest rate, consider a balance transfer to a new card with a lower interest rate offer. And if you go this route, you can either:
- Keep the old card, which will return its balance to zero and help with your credit utilization ratio
- Cancel the old card, which will ensure that you cannot charge up a bunch of new debt on the old card
Either way, be sure you read carefully the terms and fees of your balance transfer. A 0% introductory offer will be over before you know it. And, it probably doesn’t apply to every type of transaction.
If learning how to lower credit card interest works for you, then that’s great. Just don’t let it become an excuse to charge more than you can afford.
The best case scenario for any credit card user is to never pay interest fees because you return your credit card balance to zero every month. Certainly, there will be exceptions to this rule, in which case the lower interest rate pays off.
But not matter your interest rate, always aim for racking up zero fees when you have a credit card.