It's a tough economy right now, so NewsChannel 11 wanted to find a way to help save you a little money. Credit experts say you shouldn't put anything on your credit card that you can't pay off within three months, but what happens when you do? Interest builds up. And while credit cards are quick and convenient, if you don't pay them off it can cost you.
Money Management International says the average household has about $8,000 of credit card debt. Even if you put away the credit cards and start paying in cash, it can still be pretty expensive to pay it all off. "It's a debt that has to be paid back. It's got an interest rate that can change very quickly, so you do want to keep your credit card debt as low as possible," said Consumer Credit Counselor, Crystal Gomoke.
So how can you do that? Gomoke says, "The best way to lower the interest rate is to call them and explain that, you know, I've got this debt with you. I've got a certain interest rate and I would like a lower interest rate in order for me to keep my business with you."
NewsChannel 11 wanted to know if it's really as easy as simply making a phone call. So we set out armed with a cell phone and a script on a mission to help people lower their interest rates. They called their credit card company and read a few sentences asking for a lower rate.
Here's what the script read: "I'm a good customer, but I received some offers in the mail from other companies with lower percentage rates. I was really wanting to lower the rate on my card, can you help me?"
Paul Stapp is glad he called. He carries about $4,000 on his card. His credit card company lowered his interest rate from 24% to 19.99%. "It's gonna be down. It's gonna be lower," Stapp said.
Carol Eischite didn't have as much luck, but her interest rate was already fairly low, at 8.9%. Leanne Carrol had the best luck with our experiment. Her interest rate was lowered from 24.9% to 14.9%. "I was surprised that they dropped it that much," Carrol said with a smile.
If you try this method to lower your interest rates, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know if it worked for you by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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