Credit Card Learning Center
Low Interest Credit Cards
Got an excellent credit rating? Chances are that you have received
plenty of mail offering low interest credit cards. Consider a low
interest card a reward for always paying your bills on time. Your
excellent credit rating can shave hundreds of dollars off your monthly
credit card bill.
You may even get these offers if your credit rating is less than
perfect. But read the small print carefully and you will probably find a
clause that says the company may offer you a different type of credit
card (with a higher rate) if you do not qualify for the low-rate card.
But don't despair. In these days of low interest rates and high
competition, you may find your existing card company will lower the rate
on the card you have rather than lose you as a customer. Of course, you
should always keep an eye on your credit agency reports and question
items with which you disagree.
People who normally carry a balance on their credit cards are clearly
winners with low interest cards. If you don't carry a balance, it
doesn't matter what the interest rate is.
Not paying close attention to the interest rate charged can result in
higher debt than you need to have. Look at it this way: how much sooner
would you be able to pay off your outstanding balance if you had an
extra $100 or $200 going to pay off the principal each month? That's how
much you could save in interest with a low interest credit card.
Whether that extra money goes to the credit card company or to reducing
your debt is up to you.
Paying credit card bill not enough
But getting a low interest rate is one thing; keeping it is another.
Think that paying your credit card bill on time every month will be
sufficient? Think again! All your bills need to be paid on time. A few
days late with the phone or power bill because you were on vacation
could be enough to jump your interest rate from, say, 3.9% to 29.9%.
Carry a large enough balance and that could add thousands of dollars in
total interest payments over the course of a year. On a $10,000 balance,
the additional cost would be more than $200 a month.
It can't be said often enough: read the fine print. Credit card
contracts, in fact most contracts, are in such small print and legal
language that consumers often fail to read them or to understand them
fully. But these clauses and conditions are required to spell out all
the details involved in the use of your credit card.
Can rate be increased?
Look for ways in which your juicy interest rate can be increased. And
look for fees that can be added, for example: for late payment (which
might also increase the rate you pay), or for exceeding your credit
limit. Anything that increases your cost of borrowing in effect
increases your rate of interest, even if it goes under a different name.
Your peace and security could depend on your careful reading of every
word in the contract. If there's something you don't understand, get it
Lowest Fixed APR Rate: 5.50%
Lowest Variable ARR Rate: 8.49%
Total Credit Cards in Database: 102