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How Do You Get the Best Credit Card Rates?

Aug 18, 2007
If you're going to carry a balance on your credit cards, one of the most important factors is how low an interest rate you can get. The lower the rate, the easier it will be to pay off your debts. It is very much so worth some time comparing rates and fees.

The simplest factor to consider is the annual percentage rate you are likely to be charged. However, the actual rate you get may vary from the original quote in many cases, if your credit score is not sufficient. Most offers will note that the best rate is reserved for the best credit.

However, we'll assume for the moment that your credit is adequate to get something more or less along the lines of what is offered. You're not the sort to tell yourself that you have good credit when in fact it's a mess.

But there can be more to finding the best credit card rates than just looking at the APR. You also have to consider what you need the card for.

For example, if you are going to transfer a balance over from another card, what is that going to cost you? Are there balance transfer fees? What's the APR on balance transfers? How long does that last?

A lot of cards will offer a 0% APR for perhaps 12 months on balance transfers. Such a credit card is not particularly hard to find. You still need to consider what that balance transfer will cost you after the initial APR wears off. This can be a bad deal if the new interest rate goes too high after the introductory period and you haven't made much progress in paying off that transfer. On the other hand, if it lets you make rapid progress toward paying off old balances, it can be a great deal.

You should also check for fees. Annual fees are rarely worth it. They're more likely to eat up the difference in interest rates, and if you quit carrying a balance, they keep costing you money.

If you're already carrying a balance, a balance transfer is not the only way you can get a better rate. Call your current credit card company and just ask for a better rate. If you have a good credit score you're likely to get it, especially if you make your willingness to go to another company clear. It only takes a short time to call and ask.

Always be aware of what a credit card is costing you. This will help you to know when it's time to talk to them and get your rates fixed or to change credit card companies.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://credit-blog.findcreditonline.com/ about credit and money. She offers more tips on choosing the right credit card at her site.
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