The annual percentage rate (APR) of a credit card represents how much someone pays in interest on an annual basis if they carry a balance on their credit card. The lower someone’s APR is, the less they would pay in interest. Because of this, it makes sense to try to secure the lowest APR possible.
Keep reading to learn how to lower the APR on a credit card.
What Is Credit Card APR?
A credit card’s APR represents the total cost of borrowing money using a credit card. The APR on a credit card is the interest rate charged to carry a balance. In the case of credit cards, annual fees and other fees like late fees are not added to the APR like they are with installment loans. A credit card can have a fixed or variable interest rate, meaning the rate can either stay the same or change over time based on index rates.
Understanding what APR is can help credit card users know how much they’d need to pay in interest if they don’t pay off their credit card balance in full each month. If they don’t carry a balance, they can avoid paying credit card interest.
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Ways a Lower Interest Rate Can Help
Having a good APR for credit cards is important for a number of reasons. A lower interest rate can save consumers money. In turn, this can make it easier and faster to pay off debt. This can also help them to improve their credit score.
The higher someone’s interest rate is, the harder it is to chip away at their credit card balance, as the bulk of credit card payments will go toward interest. This is why achieving a lower credit card APR can make escaping high-interest credit card debt easier.
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How to Lower APR on a Credit Card
If someone is interested in lowering their credit card APR, there are steps they can take to try to do so.
Apply for a Balance Transfer Card
If someone has a high APR, one option for how to get a lower interest rate on a credit card is to get a balance transfer card with a lower interest rate. They can then transfer their balance from the high-interest credit card to the balance transfer card.
Usually, this new balance transfer credit card can’t be issued by the same company or any affiliates of the original card. Balance transfer cards may offer a 0% APR promotional period. During that period, the cardholder won’t pay any interest, which means all of their payments will go toward paying down the principal.
However, once the promotional period ends, a higher APR will kick in (this is one example of what can increase your credit card’s APR). Additionally, a balance transfer fee may apply to move over the existing credit card balance to the new card. It might make sense to calculate your credit card interest rate on your old card to ensure you’ll save money.
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Negotiate With Your Credit Card Issuer
When it comes to figuring out how to get lower APR on a credit card, it’s possible to simply ask for an APR reduction with a credit card issuer. This strategy may be particularly effective if the cardholder has used their credit card responsibly and consistently paid their credit card bill on time — one of the cardinal credit card rules.
The account holder also can provide a reason why they’re requesting a reduction. They may have experienced a job loss or have unexpected medical bills to pay. Maybe they got a raise and are really motivated to pay off their debt, and having a lower interest rate would help them do that. It’s also possible to leverage new credit card offers with lower interest rates to try to negotiate a current APR down.
Consumers can also ask for a temporary reprieve if the credit card issuer won’t offer a lower rate indefinitely. For example, it may be possible to request a one-year rate reduction of 1 to 3 percentage points.
Low-Interest Credit Cards
If someone can’t quite figure out how to get a lower interest rate on a credit card with their current issuer, they also can step away from using that specific credit card. Instead, they may apply for a low-interest credit card to use in lieu of the card with the higher APR.
Cardholders who have consistently made on-time payments and taken other steps to improve their credit score may be able to secure a new card with a lower interest rate. As an added bonus, doing so can make it easier to negotiate a lower APR with a current credit card.
Some different types of credit cards even reward cardholders for their good behavior by lowering their APR. With the SoFi Credit Card, for instance, if users make 12 monthly on-time payments of at least the minimum payment due, their APR will drop by 1%.
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Can you lower your APR on a credit card? In short, yes.
If someone pays off their credit card balance in full each month, they won’t have to worry about their APR too much. That being said, it’s always smart to try to secure the lowest APR possible in case it’s necessary to carry a balance from time to time.
Having a lower APR on a credit card means the cost of borrowing money is lower. When someone has a lower APR, more of their monthly payments can go toward paying down their principal balance instead of interest. In turn, this can help them pay off their debt faster, save money, and even improve their credit score.
Looking for a new credit card? The SoFi credit card actually lowers a cardholder’s APR if they make at least the minimum payments on their balance each month for 12 months in a row. Plus, new credit card holders† who also sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings with direct deposit can start earning up to 3% cash back rewards on all eligible credit card purchases for 365 days1. Offer ends 12/31/22.
Apply for the SoFi credit card!
How can I reduce my credit card interest rate?
Cardholders have a few different options for figuring out how to lower the interest rate on credit cards. To start, they can try to negotiate a lower interest rate on any current credit cards by calling their issuer and trying to come to an agreement. If that doesn’t work, they can simply apply for a new credit card or a balance transfer card. If they can secure a lower interest rate on a new credit card, they can choose to use that credit card instead. Or, they might take that offer back to their current lender to try to negotiate a lower APR.
Why do credit card issuers charge varying APRs?
Credit card issuers use a consumer’s credit score to help determine what the APR on a credit card should be for a specific consumer. The reason that APRs vary is because credit card issuers give a custom APR to each applicant based on their financial history. Generally, the lower someone’s credit score is, the higher their APR will be.
Photo credit: iStock/Charday Penn
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s
The SoFi Credit Card is issued by The Bank of Missouri (TBOM) (“Issuer”) pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.
1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.