How to lower interest rates on credit cards

Be prepared before calling your provider.

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Having a lower APR can help save you quite a bit of money if you occasionally carry a balance. But even if you have a high APR, it’s not necessarily set in stone, as there are ways to negotiate lower interest rates.

How to negotiate lower interest rates on credit cards

Negotiating with your card provider for a lower APR can result in a big financial win for you. Plus, there isn’t really a downside to making the request, as the worst that can happen is you’ll get a “No.”

Here are a few tips to help you navigate your negotiation smoothly.

Know your credit score

Your credit score is important because it affects whether your card provider sees you as a responsible borrower. The higher your credit score, the better chances you have of getting your APR lowered.

There are many services that let you check your credit score. For example, Credit Verify can get you instant access to your Trans Union credit score for only $1 for your first 7 days. Once this trial period ends you’ll have to pay a monthly fee of $19.95.

If your credit score is below 670, you may want to work on it before asking for a rate decrease. The two main ways to increase your score are making on-time debt payments over a long period and keeping your credit utilization low.

Find credit card offers from other providers

You can get prequalified for credit cards from certain providers without affecting your credit score. If you’re getting credit card offers in the mail, save them.

Getting credit card offers means you fit the credit profile of someone who would likely be approved. It also means you have other options if you become unhappy with your current provider. Simply mention to your provider that you’ve received these offers, which will help you negotiate a rate decrease.

Prepare for your call

Before you call your provider, prepare a few talking points. In addition to having a strong credit score and getting prequalified for other cards, here are a few other factors that can help your case:

  • You’ve been a customer for a long time.
  • You have a significant history of on-time payments.
  • You recently got a raise.

Ultimately, getting your APR lowered is often as simple as calling your provider, saying you’re seeking a rate decrease and explaining why you should get one.

Be respectful when speaking to your provider

When you call your provider, it helps to be kind to the representative — they may be more willing to do you a favor simply because you’re polite.

If the representative says no, consider asking to speak with a manager, who may have more authority to help you. Alternatively, call back and try your luck with another representative who might be more lenient.

What to do if you can’t negotiate a lower interest rate

If you’re having trouble negotiating a lower interest rate, here are a few steps to look into.

Apply for a lower interest credit card

If your provider won’t lower your APR but you consider yourself a strong candidate, consider a low APR credit card. Below are a few low APR credit cards we highly recommend. Some even come with a lower rate on balance transfers for a set period of time.

CardWhy it’s greatIntroductory balance transfer offerOngoing purchase APRAnnual fee
BMO Preferred Rate MastercardLong intro APR on balance transfers at a competitive APR3.99% for 9 months12.99%$20
TD Emerald Flex Rate Visa CardOffers a flexible APR based on your own personal credit profileN/ATD Prime¹ + 4.5% up to TD Prime + 12.75%$25
Scotiabank Value Visa CardComes with a competitive interest rate, and you don’t need any credit history to apply0.99% for 6 months12.99%$29

Work on improving your credit score

If negotiation and a low APR card are out of reach, it could be time to work on your credit score. Look at secured cards to start building credit and check out more tips for improving your score.

Compare low interest rate credit cards

Name Product Purchase Interest Rate Cash Advance Rate Annual Fee Minimum Income Reward
BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard
12.99%
12.99%
$20
$15,000
Take advantage of an introductory balance transfer offer, annual fee waiver in the first year, and low purchase and cash advance interest rates.
Get a rate of 3.99% on balance transfers for 9 months with a 1% transfer fee. Plus, get the $20 annual fee waived in the first year.
HSBC +Rewards™ Mastercard®
11.9%
11.9%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($25 thereafter)
N/A
Earn 2 Points for every $1 spent on eligible dining or entertainment purchases.
Earn 20,000 Points ($100 travel value) plus a full annual fee rebate for the Primary Cardholder for the first year ($25 value). Apply by December 28, 2020. Conditions Apply. This offer is only available to residents of Canada other than the province of Quebec. (Quebec residents eligible for separate offer).
BMO Rewards Business Mastercard
14.99%
22.99%
$0 annual fee for the first year ($120 thereafter)
N/A
Earn 3 BMO Rewards points for every $1 you spend on gas, office supplies, cell phone bills and internet bills, and earn 1.5 BMO Rewards points for every $1 you spend elsewhere.
Get up to $470 in value in your first year. Get 50,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in the first three months. Plus, the primary cardholder will get the first year $120 annual fee waived.
Business Platinum Card from American Express
N/A
N/A
$499
N/A
Earn 1.25 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 35,000 Membership Rewards points when you charge $7,000 in purchases to your card in your first three months of Cardmembership.
American Express Business Gold Rewards Card
N/A
N/A
$250
N/A
Earn 2 Membership Rewards points for every $1 spent on eligible purchases at select American Express merchant suppliers in Canada (choose 3 suppliers), and earn 1 Membership Reward point for every $1 spent on eligible purchases elsewhere
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 30,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend at least $5,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
12.99%
12.99%
$29
$12,000
Save on interest for 6 months by consolidating your higher-rate balances with the balance transfer offer, and get an on-going 12.99% interest rate on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers.
Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by October 31, 2020.
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Bottom line

Oftentimes, it doesn’t hurt to call your provider and ask for an APR decrease — especially if you have a strong credit profile. If your provider won’t lower your rate, explore all of your other credit card options.

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