Negotiating Credit Rates

April 9, 2009 4:25:24 PM PDT
The prime interest rate is the lowest it's been in 20 years, so you'd think credit-card interest rates would be down, too, right? Consumer Reports says they're going through the roof. But there are still ways to get a lower rate.

Curtis Arnold of www.cardratings.com advises people on how to negotiate with credit-card companies.

"It can be a little intimidating, but educate yourself, don't be intimidated. The issuers, it's in their vested interest to work out a payment plan with you," said Arnold.

Even if you're not in dire straits, Consumer Reports' Andrea Rock says negotiating with your credit-card companies can really pay off. And you can be your own advocate. Call the number on the back of your card and ask to speak to someone about reducing your interest rate.

Before you call, check your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.

"Depending on your credit rating, you could lower your rate to less than eight-point-five percent, and these days, anything below 10 percent is pretty good," said Rock.

Once you get your credit ratings, it's a good idea to find out what kind of interest rates you can expect to get from credit cards. Go to www.cardtrak.com, and under current pricing you'll find out if your score qualifies you for the prime rate, the super prime rate, or the sub-prime rate.

www.consumerreports.org

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