How to Calculate Revolving Credit Card Interest

There is no single method for calculating revolving credit card interest that applies to all credit cards. The basic formula is the same, but credit card companies use different approaches. Some are better for consumers than others. Your credit card may have a “grace period.” You won’t owe interest when you pay off your balance within the grace period.

Look on your credit card statement for your annual percentage rate or ask the credit card issuer. Divide the APR by 12 to find the monthly interest rate, called the periodic rate. For example, divide an APR of 15 percent by 12 and you get a monthly periodic rate of 1.25 percent. Multiply the periodic rate by the credit card balance. Suppose your balance is $800. Multiplied by 1.25 percent, this works out to a monthly interest charge of $10. Some credit card companies calculate interest based on a daily rate. To get the daily periodic rate, divide the APR by 365. Multiply a daily periodic rate by the balance and then by the number of days in the billing period to calculate the monthly interest charge.

Credit card issuers determine the balance on your account that is used to figure interest in different ways. Some companies take the ending balance for the month so you pay interest on all purchases made during the month. Others use the starting balance, which usually means you pay less interest because purchases made since the last billing date aren’t counted. Still other issuers take the average daily balance to compute interest charges.


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Zales credit card interest rate

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How To Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rates

Zales credit card interest rate

When I was near my financial low point, I was literally paying hundreds a month in finance charges on my credit cards and needed to lower the interest rates. That money was an enormous burden at the time, since I didn#8217;t have any savings built up and I was also dealing with the #8220;startup#8221; expenses of having a new baby in the home.

I didn#8217;t know at the time that it#8217;s actually not too hard to get your interest rates reduced on your credit cards, particularly if you#8217;re in a situation like I was in. All you have to do is get your information together, call the credit card company, and be willing to play a little hardball on the phone, and you#8217;ll often get a nice reduction in your interest rate. That will directly help your bottom line.

In fact, if I had been able to get a reduction in all of my credit cards when I was in real trouble, I would have easily saved $100 a month. That money, if used properly at the start of a financial turnaround, can make all the difference in the world. It can be the foundation of an emergency fund, light a fire under a debt repayment plan, repay a family member for a debt, and countless other little things that can make all the difference when you#8217;re trying to turn your finances around.

Steps to Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rates

You may be able to quickly get your rates to 0% for a period of time by signing up for a balance transfer credit card with a great introductory offer. Of course, you need to be able to qualify for another credit card to do this. If you can, this may be your quickest and most pain free option to reduce your interest charges.

If you can not qualify for another card, or do not want one, continue to follow the next steps.

This tactic works best if you have a substantial amount of debt sitting on credit cards and have largely been able to make your payments up to this point. A few late payments are quite all right, but if you#8217;re being chased by collection agencies, negotiating with the credit card companies won#8217;t really help.

If you#8217;re not carrying a balance on your card or don#8217;t carry a balance regularly, the credit card company is not going to be particularly interested in helping you out because as a customer, you#8217;re not putting much money into their coffers. Simply put, this tactic works best if you have some leverage #8211; you#8217;re currently paying finance charges on your card and you#8217;re threatening to move it to another account.

Another important factor is your current interest rate. If your rate is already around 7.99% or so, there#8217;s not much the credit card company can do to lower the rate. This tactic works best if you have a rate above 13% or so.

Remember, though, any interest rate reduction will help if you#8217;re carrying a balance. A 1% reduction on a card where you#8217;re carrying a $1,000 balance will save you $10 a year. If your balance is higher, you save more. If your interest rate reduction is higher, you save more. For example, if you have a $5,000 balance and get a 5% rate reduction, you#8217;re saving $250 a year from a single phone call #8211; well worth your while.

While you might be tempted to just flip over your credit card and call the card issuer#8217;s number on the back, you#8217;ll have a much greater chance at success if you prepare just a bit in advance.

First, have a copy of your most recent statement with you. Make sure you know what your current interest rate is and also have your account number handy and easy to read. The statement should also provide you with the phone number you need to call.

Next, collect any other offers you might have available to you. See if you have any zero interest or low interest balance transfer offers available to you #8211; in other words, check your recent #8220;junk mail#8221; and/or log on to your online access for your credit card and see what#8217;s available. Get a quote on a personal loan from your local credit union#8217;s website. These will be used as leverage to get your rate reduced.

You should also figure out a target rate to shoot for on the phone. I recommend shooting for 9.9%, but you#8217;ll likely not get a rate that low.

Finally, get in the right mindset. Drink a glass of water. Get yourself calm (because getting worked up on the phone won#8217;t help you), yet motivated to make this work. Then pick up the phone and dial.

The first thing you need to do is get someone on the phone that actually has the authority to change your interest rate. Likely, the first customer service representative that you speak to won#8217;t be able to do that.

So, start off by navigating through their menu until you can speak to a representative. As soon as you can, ask the big question: #8220;Do you have the authority to change my interest rate?#8221; If the answer is no, simply ask, #8220;May I speak to someone who can? Your supervisor, perhaps? Thank you!#8221;

Once you#8217;ve got a person on the phone who has the authority to change your rates, make your case as clearly and succinctly as possible. Here#8217;s a potential script:

#8220;Hello. Lately, I#8217;ve been really having to stretch my finances to make the monthly payments on this credit card, and I need to reduce the interest rate somehow. It would be convenient to keep the balance on this card, but I have some other options that could really save me some money #8211; a zero interest balance transfer offer is sitting right here, for one. Could you reduce the interest rate on my account to, say, .9%?#8221;

This puts the ball firmly in their court #8211; and at that point, it#8217;s largely out of your hands. The typical response is a reduction in rate, but not a reduction all the way down to the rate you requested.

Regardless of what you get out of the call, be polite. Say #8220;thank you#8221; for any rate reduction and don#8217;t get enraged if you don#8217;t immediately get a big reduction.

Sometimes, you#8217;ll get a rate reduction that makes you happy. At other times, you may not get much of a rate reduction at all #8211; and in that case, you#8217;ll want to do something else. Here are some options.

Seek out balance transfer offers. Moving your balance to another card can help get the finance charge monkey off your back #8211; a useful short term solution.

Seek out another type of debt. Investigate getting a personal loan at your local credit union. A home equity loan is a possibility, but it#8217;s generally a poor idea to change unsecured debt (like your credit card) to secured debt (like a home equity loan).

Lower the offending debt rapidly. Focus all your energies on getting rid of that high interest debt as fast as you can. You might want to work a second job, sell some stuff, or start a side business to generate extra money #8211; and learning how to live cheaper is always a big plus.

For most people with credit card debt, the possibility of success (and the savings that go along with it) with attempting to get your rate reduced is worth the effort involved in picking up the phone and doing it. Good luck!

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How to Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rates

Zales credit card interest rate

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It’s important to know that you can lower your credit card interest rates, no matter the reason you want to do so. So, whether you’re trying to get the balance on your credit card paid down faster, you plan to make a large purchase soon and don’t want to pay more than you have to, or you want to improve the annual percentage rate (APR) on your credit card for any other number of reasons, there are several ways you can do so. You can request an lower APR from your issuer, look into balance transfer or low interest credit cards and/or work on your credit scores. (Remember, good credit helps you qualify for the best terms and conditions.) Let’s break down the four big ways you can lower your credit card interest rates.

1. Call Ask Your Issuer to Lower Your Interest Rate

The easiest thing is often the simplest — try calling your credit card issuer and seeing if they’ll adjust your APR (or find out what you’ll need to do to get a lower interest rate). If you have a good payment history with your issuer, you may qualify for a lower APR simply by calling and asking for one. And if the first customer service rep you speak to isn’t willing to lower your interest rate, don’t be shy about calling and asking again or even requesting to speak with a manager. Another rep may be willing to cut you a deal. (Note: Sometimes issuers will pull a customer’s credit report when they request better terms on a current credit card, so be aware this move could incur a credit inquiry on your credit reports — which can ding your scores.)

If you’re looking to lower your credit card interest rate so you stop racking up additional charges and can finally get that credit card debt paid off, a balance transfer may be a good option. Many cards come with an introductory 0% APR for a given period of time so you can really tackle paying down your balance. Keep in mind, however, that you will see a higher APR once that introductory APR rate expires so you’ll really want to focus on getting the balance paid off before that kicks in. (You can use this credit card payoff calculator tool to see how long it might take you to pay off your debt based on different APRs.)

Take a look at the cards in your wallet and do some research on the APRs they currently carry. When you comparison shop for a new card, in addition to taking note of the APRs, you’ll want to keep your eye out for fees that come with a balance transfer. Often times, there are balance transfer fees (typically around 2% to 5% of the balance) when you move your balance to a low interest rate credit card. As you compare your different options, make sure you budget this into your payment plan. (You can learn more about the best balance transfer credit cards here .)

The better your credit, the better the terms and conditions you can qualify for. Not sure of your current credit standing? You can see a free snapshot of your credit reports on Credit.com. You’ll also receive guidance on steps you can take to improve your scores to help get you on the path to being eligible to lower your credit card interest rate.

Perhaps you have a great credit score already. And perhaps you’ve checked with your issuer and they simply won’t budge on the interest rates. Whatever the reason may be, it might be time to consider getting a different card. Shop around and see what cards might offer you the best rates. You may even be able to take this information to your current issuer to see if they can match it. Just make sure you think twice about closing any credit cards you already have, as this could negatively affect your credit age (and ding your credit scores in the process).

Lucy Lazarony also contributed to this story.

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I have a credit card, your advice from the company is do not apply for any more credit. How long should I wait to find a credit card with a lower rate. This one is a little high.

I assume you are seeing that message because your grade for the number of inquiries is low. Is that correct? If so, then ideally you want to wait until some of those inquiries no longer count. Typically, that will be the case after one year. We wrote more about that here:

does anyone know how to attach an address to a pre-paid visa card? I want to make an online purchase and the merchant requires an address attached to it or they will not accept the card.

Interesting question #8211; which card do you have? Do they allow you to register it?