March 18, 2018
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Money Matters: Credit Card Interest

High Interest Rates Getting Your Blood Pressure Up?

Over the last couple of years, Congress has been looking into common procedures employed by credit card companies in areas such as high interest rates, fees, grace periods, over the limit charges, and disclosure practices, and how these issues are impacting millions of Americans. Even if you make payments every month, it may seem like you never make a substantial dent in the balance because of high interest charges that are added to your account every month. Many consumers are simply overburdened and overwhelmed by high interest rates. We’re talking 19.8% to 30% and higher!

One way to offset this was that new guidelines were implemented which increased minimum payments. You may be thinking, “How is that good?” This will actually help many credit card users because the more money you send in, the lower your balance gets, which decreases the amount of interest paid. In the past, it was conceivable that the balance could remain the same from month to month because of the accrued finance charges.

Likewise, there are some additional things you can do to be proactive in lowering your credit card interest. Here are some ideas that could help you.

* Call and ask—a quick phone call could result in lower credit card interest. Be nice, yet persistent. A study conducted by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group revealed that over half of those who participated in calling to ask that their interest rates be lowered were successful. Threatening to take away your business may help persuade them.

* If you have more than one credit card, know what your interest rates are, then pay the minimum balance on all the debts except the card with the highest interest rate, which should receive more than the minimum payment.

* Do some research to find a new card that offers 0% balance transfers for the first 6 months or year, with no annual fee. Know what the annual percentage rate will be when the introductory offer is over.



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