Reduce Your Credit Card Rate

The prime interest rate is the lowest it's been in 20 years, so you'd think your credit-card interest rates would be down, too. Wrong! Consumer Reports says they're going through the roof.

But there are ways to get a lower rate so you're not financing big banks' bailout from your own pocket.

Curtis Arnold of CardRatings.com advises people on how to negotiate with credit-card companies.

"It can be a little intimidating, but educate yourself, don't be intimidated." said Arnold. "The issuers, it's in their vested interest to work out a payment plan with you."

Some card holders will qualify for the bank's hardship program, which can drop your interest rate.

Even if you're not in dire straits, Consumer Reports' Andrea Rock says negotiating with your credit-card companies can really pay off.

And you can be your own advocate. Call the number on the back of your card and ask the speak to someone about reducing your interest rate.

"Be persistent. If the person you talk to can't help, ask to speak to a supervisor or someone in the customer-retention department," said Rock.

Before you call, check your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com

"Depending on your credit rating, you could lower your rate to less than 8.5%, and these days, anything below 10% is pretty good," said Rock.

Once you get your credit ratings, Consumer Reports says it's a good idea to find out what kind of interest rates you can expect to get from credit cards.

Go to CardTrak.com and under "Current Pricing" you'll find out if your score qualifies you for the prime rate, the super prime rate, or the sub-prime rate.


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