6 Ways to Decrease Credit Card Interest
This post originally appeared on Credit.com.
Credit card interest can be devastating to cardholders who are trying to pay off their debt. Once they start to carry a balance, compounded interest is accumulating on every purchase from the moment of the transaction. And as unsecured debt that is never tax deductible, credit card interest rates are higher and impact families more than home, car, or student loans. However, there are ways to cut your credit card interest payments every month.
Experienced cardholders may already know how to shop around for the lowest interest rate or apply for a new card with a 0% APR promotional financing offer, but consider some of these strategies that are a little more advanced:
1. Pay early
Since credit card interest is computed based on your average daily balance, every day you wait to send a payment will incur more interest. In fact, you don’t even have to wait for your statement to make a payment.
2. Pay often
It can appear to make sense to save up as much money as possible before making a payment, but actually it doesn’t. Even if you only have a portion of what you intend to pay, it is better to pay it now rather than later. Ideally, cardholders could make each payment shortly after they receive their own paychecks or other income.
3. Pay electronically
Since every day counts, make sure you are making electronic payments from your bank account rather than mailing a check.
4. Use a separate card for making payments in full
When cardholders have credit card debt, but need to use their credit cards for additional purchases, they should consider charging a limited amount to a separate card that they can pay in full each month. In this way, one card retains its interest-free grace period while the cardholder continues to pay down his or her debt on another card. But be careful; cardholders who fail to pay their entire balance in full and on time each month will not save any money at all.
5. Ask for a promotional financing offer
You don’t necessarily have to apply for a new credit card to receive a 0% promotional financing offer on balance transfers or new purchases. In some cases, cardholders receive these offers in the mail that allow them to take a break from incurring interest. So it stands to reason that cardholders can contact their bank and request that such an offer be extended to their existing account. Customers should indicate that they are considering cancelling their account in order to be transferred to a “retentions” agent that can extend such an offer.
6. Ask for a lower interest rate
If a cardholder can’t receive a promotional financing offer, he or she can request a lower interest rate. Cardholders in good standing with improving credit can have their interest rate successfully re-evaluated. Again, it helps to mention cancelling the account in order to receive these offers from a retentions specialist.
By utilizing every available tactic and strategy to minimize their interest rates, cardholders can work to pay off their debt as soon as possible.