Credit Report Q&A

I'm trying to lower my credit card APRs. How should I go about doing that?

Often the APRs that your credit cards are charging you are based on your FICO® score. However, even if you have a good FICO score you need to read the fine print of your credit card agreement. Your credit card company won't lower your APR just because you've been taking care of your credit; you need to call them and ask them to lower your APR!

A good course of action is to know your FICO score and have that handy when you call your credit card company. Do a bit of research by finding out common rates based on your FICO score. You can go to the FICO Forums and ask other consumers what APR you should expect based on your credit profile – you may be surprised to see how many people are willing to provide insight and help.

After you do some research, you should know what is a fair APR based on your FICO score. If your credit card company is unwilling to work with you, then you should consider transferring your balance to a credit card with more attractive rates. When transferring a balance, some things to look for are the introductory period and the standard APR.

Introductory Rate: the APR a credit card will charge you for a specified period of time. After the introductory period ends, your introductory APR will convert to a standard APR.

Standard Rate: the APR a credit card will charge you once the introductory period expires.

Things to keep in mind here:
If you cannot pay off the balance of transfer during the introductory period, then look for a card that also has a relatively low standard APR. Since you'll be carrying a balance after the introductory period is over, your finance charges can add up quickly if your standard APR is high.

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