SmartConsumerTips Logo    Gems of Consumer Wisdom
  Health • Safety • Financial Freedom
Quick TourThe TipsheetsSite Map
MissionPrivacy PolicyContact Info
 

How To Lower Interest Rates Under 5% For Life
Part III of the Special Report "Why Aren't More
Cardholders Standing Up For Themselves?"

 
Special Report Contents:
I.

II.

III.
 
Skyrocket Your Credit Card Rewards!
0% Balance Transfers Can Save A Bunch
How To Lower Interest Rates Under 5%
 
Lowered to 5% for the life of the balance, that is! The Prime Rate has been dropping like a rock lately, and variable credit card rates have been falling right along with it.  Economic forecasters believe the Prime Rate will keep falling for some time, as it often does in subpar economic times.  It's actually averaged under 6% since 2002, and for three years it averaged just above 4%.  Some smart consumers have been taking advantage by applying for a low-rate credit card.  But if the economy continues to slide into recession this "window of opportunity" could narrow, and approval will be harder to get.

There are actually two scorecards on this page. If you're finding it necessary to put purchases on a credit card, the first scorecard covers low-interest credit cards:  Choose a variable rate around 5%, or a fixed rate near 7%.  Secondly if you have credit card debt that you can't pay off anytime soon, the second scorecard helps you transfer those balances to a card with a fixed low interest rate "for the life of the balance."  These "balance-transfer cards" come with permanent fixed rates as low as 4.99% for as long as you carry that debt.
Paying a lot of interest on credit cards is like flushing money down the drain. Fortunately, one card now has a published rate of 5% -- but at their site we found that your rate could range from 4.25% to 6.25%, depending on your credit. Here are the cards with the lowest interest rates for purchases:
To find your savings from paying less interest,
Fact:  The average household of 2.5 people owes $7,300 in total credit debt. Lowering their interest rate by 13.75% could save $5,018 over five years for such a household.
 
Your Credit Card Balance:
You Plan To Pay It
Off Steadily Over
Years
And If You Pay % Less
Interest, You Could Save:
? 
  Note:  A "thumbs-up" symbol in the scorecard below tells you the card is easier to get approved for, even if your credit is less than excellent. Two thumbs up means you could qualify even if your credit is poor.
Scorecard for cards with a low interest rate:
Rank Card NameNext Steps
Intro APR / PeriodBalance Transfer FeeIntroductory Rate DetailsRegular Interest Rate (APR)Grace PeriodAnnual FeeBonus, If Any:
1. 1. Pulaski Bank Visa Card
0% APR for 6 Months (Balance Transfers) None The intro rate is for balance transfers submitted in the first three months.6.50% (Fixed)25 Days35None
2. 2. Pulaski Bank Gold Visa Card
0% APR for 6 Months (Balance Transfers) None The intro rate is for balance transfers submitted in the first three months.8.00% (Fixed)25 Days0None
3. 3. Capital One Platinum Prestige
0% APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers Until October 2009 3% 8.90% 25 Days0None
4. 4. HSBC Platinum MasterCard with Cash Back Rewards
0% APR for 12 Months (Purchases, Balance Transfers) 3%, $15 minimum 8.90% - 19.80% (Variable)20 Days0None
5. 5. HSBC Weekend Card
0% APR for 12 Months (Purchases, Balance Transfers) 3%, $15 minimum 8.99% - 17.99% (Variable)20 Days (Min.)0None
6. 6. Capital One No Hassle Miles(SM) Rewards - Excellent Credit
0% on Purchases Until October 2009 None 9.90% 25 Days0None
7. 7. The Nature Conservancy Platinum Plus Visa Credit Card
0% APR for 12 Billing Cycles (Balance Transfers) 3%, $10 minimum The intro rate is also available for cash advance checks.9.99% (Fixed)20 Days (Min.)0None
8. 8. Gold MasterCard Credit Card
No Introductory Rate Available Greater of $7.50 or 1% 9.99% (Fixed)21 Days0None
9. 9. Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Card
No Introductory Rate Available 9.99% (Fixed)None50None
10. 10. Applied Bank Secured Visa Credit Card
No Introductory Rate Available 9.99% (Fixed)None50None
 (These low-interest cards are for businesses:)
11. 11. Advanta Customizable Platinum BusinessCard with Unlimited Rewards
0% APR for 15 Months (Balance Transfers) 3%, $5 minimum, $90 maximum (introductory) A 0% intro rate is for balance transfers for 15 months if a transfer is submitted in the application process. The APR for balance transfers after the intro period will be a fixed rate of 7.99%.7.99% (Variable)0None
12. 12. The Kiva BusinessCard
0% APR for 15 Months (Balance Transfers) 3%, $5 minimum, $90 maximum (introductory) A 0% intro rate is for balance transfers for 15 months. The APR for balance transfers after the intro period expires will be a fixed rate of 7.99%.7.99% (Variable)0None
13. 13. Platinum BusinessCard with Unlimited Rewards
0% APR for 15 Months (Balance Transfers) 3%, $5 minimum, $90 maximum (introductory) A 0% intro rate is for balance transfers for 15 months. The APR for balance transfers after the intro period will be a fixed rate of 7.99%.7.99% (Variable)20 Days (Min.)0None
14. 14. Chase Platinum Visa Business Card
0% APR for up to 12 Months (Purchases, Balance Transfers) 3%, $5 minimum, $99 maximum Transferred balances must consist of business-related expenses.8.49% (Variable)20 Days (Min.)0None
15. 15. CitiBusiness Card
0% APR for 12 Months (Purchases) The intro rate is for purchases made in the first 12 months.8.49% (Variable)20 Days (Min.)0None

That list covered all the low-interest cards that are fit to print.  Now let's move on to...

Credit cards offering 0% balance transfers for 12 months are one great way to save a bushel of money. Another way is to get a balance transfer that stays at a low rate for "the life of the balance" (as long as you make your payments on time.) Here are five good reasons to get a life-of-the-balance transfer:
  1. You'll be able to pay off your debts much faster!
  2. You know your credit card company wants to raise your rates. Enjoy the comfort of a legal contract that keeps it low for the life of the balance!
  3. Some cards offer signup bonuses: If you manage your bills wisely, it's like free money.
  4. Sometimes you can consolidate several credit card accounts and make a single monthly payment.
  5. Don't just settle for a card offer that somebody mass-mailed to you, use a scorecard to pick the best one for your individual needs.
But if you can pay your balance off soon, a 0% balance transfer for 12 months is a better deal because:
  1. While you're paying zippo in credit card interest, you can earn interest on an equal amount in a bank account.
  2. Some cards let you pay 0% interest on purchases too. It's kinda like a free loan.  If you pay 0% on a life-of-the-balance transfer, then please remember that after the "intro period" ends, interest on purchases will build while you pay down the transferred balance.
These cards let you transfer balances from other cards, at a low interest rate for the life of the balance:
Rank Card NameNext Steps
APR for "Life of Balance" transfersBalance Transfer FeeIntroductory Rate DetailsRegular Interest Rate (APR)Grace PeriodAnnual FeeBonus, If Any:
1. 1. Union Plus MasterCard
6.99% 3%, $5 minimum (does not apply to introductory offer) A 6.99% fixed APR is for balance transfers for the life of the loan if a transfer is submitted in the first three months of cardmembership. The intro rate for purchases is 1.99% APR for 6 months.12.99% (Variable)25 Days0None
 (These life-of-balance transfer cards are for businesses:)
2. 2. Blue for Business Credit Card
4.99% None with this offer (see site for details) A fixed 4.99% intro rate is for balance transfers for the life of the loan if the balance transfer is submitted in the application process or posted to the account within the first 45 days of Card membership. The intro rate for purchases is 0% APR for up to 15 months.As low as Prime Rate + 2.99% (Variable)25 Days0None
3. 3. The Platinum Business Credit Card
4.99% None with this offer (see site for details) A 4.99% intro rate is for balance transfers for the life of the loan if a transfer is submitted in the application process or posted within 45 days. intro rate applies to purchases made using the card at physical locations. The intro rate for purchases is 0% APR for 12 months.As low as Prime + 2.99% (Variable)25 Days0None
4. 4. SimplyCash Business Card from American Express
7.99% None with this offer (see site for details) A 7.99% intro rate is for balance transfers for the life of the loan if a transfer is submitted in the first 6 months. The intro rate for purchases is 0% APR for Up to 12 months.As low as Prime + 0% (Variable)25 Days0None
5. 5. Blue Cash for Business Credit Card
7.99% None with this offer (see site for details) A 7.99% intro rate is for balance transfers for the life of the loan if a transfer is submitted in the first six months. intro rate applies to purchases made using the card at physical locations. The intro rate for purchases is 0% APR for 6 months.As low as Prime + 2.99% (Variable)25 Days0None




Note: The scorecard on this page is fact-checked every one or two  These credit card offers are available now, but there's no guarantee they will still be there tomorrow (especially in this shaky economy.)
 
   
Quick TourThe Tipsheets12 GoofsWeb LogCalendarList of ExpertsSite MapMedia Room
Mission StatementPrivacy PolicyContact InfoDisclaimer and Terms of UseB. Franklin, Printer
© 2007, Consumer Freedom Alliance • 14241 NE Woodinville-Duvall Rd. #182 • Woodinville, WA • 98072-8564
This site best viewed by IE 5.0 or above, or Firefox 5.0 or above. • A C.O.P.P.A. compliant site.