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How to lower interest rates on credit cards

Be prepared before calling your provider.

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 FICO score. Some, such as Discover Scorecard, let you check your score for free. Some credit card providers include your FICO score on your card statements.

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 0% interest credit card

If your provider won’t lower your APR but you consider yourself a strong candidate, consider a 0% intro APR credit card. Here are a few 0% intro APR cards we highly recommend:

CardWhy it’s greatLength of intro APR on purchasesLength of intro APR on balance transfersAnnual fee
Citi Simplicity® CardLong intro APR on balance transfers and purchases and no late fees or penalty APR18 months18 monthsNone
U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum CardLong intro APR on purchases and balance transfers20 months20 monthsNone

In addition to the above cards, consider other 0% intro APR credit cards on the market.

Work on improving your credit score

If you negotiation and a 0% 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 0% intro APR credit cards

Name Product Purchase APR Balance transfer APR Annual fee Filter values
Citi Simplicity® Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
With an intro APR of 18 months, this card has one of the longest balance transfer offers on the market. Plus, no late fees and no annual fee.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Earn up to $250. You'll get 20% back on purchases in the first six months for up to $150 back, and $100 after you spend $2,000 in the first six months. This is a higher-than-average welcome offer for a card with no annual fee. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.74% to 23.74% variable)
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 13.74% to 23.74% variable)

Best of Finder 2021

An impressive 18 months intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, as well as no annual fee make this one of the top 0% APR cards available.

Compare up to 4 providers

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, see if you have other credit card options.

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