Credit Cards: How to Truly Get a Better Interest Rate

FICO Scores can Lie

As an employee of a large credit card company for more than a year and a half, I heard it all. The most common phrase was, "You know how they say you should call the credit card companies for a better rate?" I never figured out who "they" is but I cringe when I hear the likes of Suze Orman telling people to call the credit card companies and demand a better rate. She says if you have a FICO score over 700 you DESERVE a better rate. She fails to tell you the whole truth.

The truth is that FICO scores tend to lie. I have seen people who have filed for bankruptcy with 700+ fico scores. It does not mean they are less risky. It means that they do not have a lot of debt because they keep up and run away from it. FICO scores tend to miss little things like that. FICO scores are not the only thing credit card companies are looking at.

Watch Your Debt

The most common issue for people with high interest rates is the amount of debt they carry. A credit card is unsecured debt. The credit card companies do not have a house or car to take if you do not make your payments. They just have to eat the loss if you can not pay. If the credit card companies see that you are putting yourself in a position where you might not be able to pay in the future, they need to be compensated for that. Before, your credit card interest rate will not look like your mortgage interest rate. Sorry.

What Should I Do?

If you make large, timely payments on your card and you have a small amount of debt in relation to your income, you may be able to get a lower rate. Call your credit card company and ask for a lower rate. If you do not get one, vote with your feet. There is no need to whine and complain. There is no need to ask for a manager. Just take the next good deal that comes along. If you really have good credit, you will get another good deal. If you like your current card (or the credit history) just use it a little bit. Buy one tank of gas per month and pay it off in full to keep the credit history updating on your credit bureau. You do not pay any interest on the card if you pay it in full. Then transfer the balance to the card with the lower rate.

Overall, there is no need to spend hours on the phone haggling over interest rates. Give your current company one chance. If your credit is truly that good and you make large payments, you will have plenty of options. If your credit is not that good, or if you make bare minimum payments (on time or not), you are not going to have a lot of options. Your solution? Make your credit good, make some large payments and give yourself some options.

Source by Christopher Yeager

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