SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Adine Deford, Cynthia Dunlop, Harry Trott, Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva

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MyRatePlan's Guide to Getting a Lower APR

SEATTLE, WA -- (Marketwired) -- 07/25/14 -- MyRatePlan, a leading source on the credit card industry, recently looked into the problem of high credit card rates. Many Americans pay out hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars each month on credit card interest. These payments can put a serious cramp on a family's budget, but there is good news. Many times, it is possible to find a lower APR. Here are some steps that consumers can take to ensure that they are paying no more to credit card companies than necessary.

Find out the Current Interest Rate Charged

The first step is to find out the current rate that the bank is charging. This rate should be on every monthly statement. There can be different rates for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances. Some cards for consumers with good credit will have rates that are under 10 percent. Other cards can charge up to 29.99 percent. Depending upon the amount owed, this difference in interest rates could add up to huge outlays.

Look around for Lower Rates

Next, consumers should check to see what rates are currently available for new cardholders. Many banks will offer introductory 0% APR rates for new borrowers. At times, these rates can even be 0 percent for six to 18 months. This search should include both the current card held and other cards that are available.

Compare Interest Rates and Credit Rankings

There are a number of websites that can give consumers a great idea of what the average interest rates are throughout the country. Knowing this information can be beneficial when talking to one's credit card company. Additionally, those who have credit card debt should know what rate they should be paying based upon their credit score. Promotional rates are generally the cheapest. Those who have outstanding credit scores will have lower rates than average and subprime borrowers. Those who fail to pay on time can get slapped with a punitive rate that can reach 29.99 percent. However, those who have outstanding credit have no reason why the bank should be charging them the same interest rate as someone with average credit.

Call the Bank

After gaining all of this knowledge, MyRatePlan recommends that cardholders call their bank to try and get a lower APR. Those who are able to bring solid information to the table are more likely to get a bank to listen to them. It is wise to use the information gathered to request a lower interest rate. The initial customer service rep is likely to deny the request. Should this happen, consumers should ask to go up the chain to their supervisor. This process might have to be repeated at the next level. Asking to talk to the supervisor immediately after getting the name and ID of a customer service representative should work. After explaining the current situation, the bank will frequently agree to lower the interest rate. Banks do this on a regular basis for a wide clientele. Why not try to take advantage of the opportunity to save money on your debt payments?

Be Prepared to Transfer a Balance

Other banks will likely offer an interest-free introductory period for new cardholders. If an existing credit card company refuses to lower their interest charges, borrowers would be well-served to apply for a card that charges 0% APR on balance transfers. The interest-free period can sometimes reach as high as 18 months. Those with solid credit should not have a problem getting approved, but they should expect a one-time balance transfer charge of up to 3 percent of the amount transferred.

Ask about Forebearance Plans

A debt management plan might be available to consumers who've lost a job or had a major illness. Many who inform credit card companies of their current crisis can get the bank to lower their interest rates and set up payment plans. Banks have an incentive to do this because getting the principle back is better than getting no money at all. Of course, it is important to remember that some banks will report this activity to reporting agencies, and a borrower's credit score can take a major hit.

Credit card companies are frequently willing to lower interest rates for consumers. Borrowers with knowledge are more likely to get what they want, but those who choose not to contact their bank will not get any reductions at all.

About MyRatePlan:

MyRatePlan.com is a leading comparison site that allows users to compare credit cards, mobile phones, cell phone plans, and more. MyRatePlan was founded in 1999 to help users find the best recommendations for them based on innovative and proprietary tools and customer input.

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