Three Secrets To Getting the Lowest APR on Your Credit Card

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Many people are concerned with getting the lowest possible APR on their credit cards. After all, the lower your APR—Annual Percentage Rate—the less you will pay in interest if you carry a balance from month to month.

The good news is, you can get the low APR you want if you know how. Credit cards offer 0% APR promotional offers that last for a period up to nearly two years. But they also offer low APR deals all the time, not just for introductory periods, but long-term.

Here are three secrets to getting the very lowest possible APR.

  • Have a great credit score. This is the most important factor in getting a low APR offer on your credit card. If you have good credit, then credit card issuers will offer you a low APR. You can achieve a credit score in the 800+ range, considered excellent, by doing a few things: always pay your bills on time, don’t use more than 30% of your available credit, have a mix of types of credit in use on your credit report, keep your credit accounts open so your credit history is as long as possible, don’t default on loans, and regularly check your credit report to make sure it does not contain mistakes.
  • Apply for a new credit card. Often, a new credit card will have the best APR deal. You can get a card that offers 0% interest for six months, a year, or even more, but pay attention to what the ongoing APR will be after that introductory period expires. You will want to make sure that the rate does not skyrocket after the promotion ends. It is possible to get an APR of 5% or 6% if you have good enough credit. Another thing to try is calling your current credit card issuer and asking them to lower your APR. If you are a longtime customer in good standing and your credit is good, they often will lower your APR.
  • Do a balance transfer. If you have some debt already and it is on a high-APR credit card, the best thing to do is apply for a credit card that offers a 0% APR balance transfer. If you have great credit—the first secret—then you will have plenty of offers to choose from. You might have to pay a fee to transfer your balance, but in the end it will be worth it because you will save so much on interest payments every month. Some people transfer balances from card to card to keep the 0% APR going as long as possible. Just be careful not to do this more than once or twice, or you risk damaging your credit from opening too many new accounts. Make a plan to pay off your balance within the promotional period. Then make sure the ongoing APR is low, too, so you will have it for purchases down the road.

You can get the low APR that will save you money—all you need is the three secrets of low APRs, and the right credit card.

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