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When it comes to paying credit card debt, your interest rate is of the utmost importance. You may have opened your account at a time when your credit wasn’t the most spectacular and while it may be better now, you could still be paying a higher rate than needed. The average credit card APR is currently between 17 and 24 percent and is still rising, so it’s important to get that lowered as soon as possible. Here are a few tips if you’re trying to negotiate a lower interest rate.

Do Your Homework

Lowering your interest rate is unfortuantely never as easy as you’d like it to be, and you’ll likely have to negotiate for it. The great part is that your credit card company wouldn’t be happy about losing a customer, so this gives you the high ground. It’s important you know your existing balances as well as the amount of interest you’ve paid in the past year. If you have this information on your side, you’ll have an easier time convincing them that they should offer you something better. Another great tactic is to research other lower-interest rate cards that are currently on the market so you can reference other offers you’ve received.

Improve Your Odds

As I mentioned earlier, credit card companies typically do not enjoy losing their customers and this is something you can use to your advantage. The problem is that sometimes a company might not consider you a good enough customer to do what you’re asking. You may have an uneven history as a cardholder and will want to take a step back and see what you can do to improve your odds. The first thing to think about is if you have a strong credit score. Good credit is a sign that you’re adept at handling debt and will likely continue handling it properly. Beyond credit score, they’ll also look to see if you have a long history of making your payments on time.

Just Call and Ask

You’d be surprised how easy it is to pick up a phone, call your credit card company, and just ask them about lowering your interest rate. Once you’ve prepared for negotiations and feel you can properly display your value as a customer, give them a call and see what happens. You may get rejected, and that’s okay. If you’re rejected, it’s smart to hang up and try calling back in hopes of getting a different representative. You can even try asking for a manager, as they typically have more decision-making power and might be able to help you out. If in the end you’re denied, you can most likely still work something out. There are plenty of temporary or promotional rates that they may be able to give you. If they continue to not budge, let them know that you’re willing to close your account once you’ve paid your balance off so you can go to a competitor. If you can mention a specific competitor, that might be exactly what you need to persuade them.

Negotiating a lower interest rate isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but it’s far from impossible. If you do your research, you can likely get a good deal out of your current company. If all else fails though, there are plenty of other options out there. You can usually find a lot of other great deals, and sometimes you can even get cards that offer balance transfers for new customers, which would allow you to move your balance from your current card to the new one. If you’re really aching for that lower interest rate, pick up the phone and call your company. You will likely not regret it.