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How can I lower the interest rate on my credit card?

One way is to call your existing lender and try to negotiate a lower rate. Often, the threat of losing a customer and the associated income from your finance charges can inspire a card company to accept a lower interest rate and keep the relationship. Negotiation is most effective if you have a stable payment history with the company.

If your present card company won't negotiate, you can transfer your existing balance to a new lender with a lower rate. Be careful, however, that it isn't a teaser rate that's offered for a few months and then will be raised higher than your existing rate. Ask for a clear accounting of what the rate applies to (e.g., balance transfers, new purchases, cash advances), as well as all other card limitations and penalties. Find out if there is a transaction fee before you agree to the transfer.

Keep in mind that lenders are making it increasingly difficult to continuously "surf" for low credit card rates. Some card companies now restrict balance transfers during a set time (e.g., a year) after you sign up. If you try to transfer to another card during that period, you may be retroactively charged a higher rate.