Yes, you can lower your credit card interest rate. Here’s how


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Negotiating with your card provider for a lower APR can result in a big financial win for you. Plus, there isn’t really a downside to making the request, as the worst that can happen is you’ll get a “no.”


Here are a few tips to help you navigate your negotiation smoothly.

1. Know your credit score

Your credit score is important because it affects whether your card provider sees you as a responsible borrower. The higher your credit score, the better chances you have of getting your APR lowered.


There are many services that let you check your FICO score. Some, such as Discover Scorecard, let you check your score for free. Some credit card providers include your FICO score on your card statements.


If your credit score is below 670, you may want to work on it before asking for a rate decrease. The two main ways to increase your score are making on-time debt payments over a long period and keeping your credit utilization low.

2. Find credit card offers from other providers

You can get prequalified for credit cards from certain providers without affecting your credit score. If you’re getting credit card offers in the mail, save them.


Getting credit card offers means you fit the credit profile of someone who would likely be approved. It also means you have other options if you become unhappy with your current provider. Simply mention to your provider that you’ve received these offers, which will help you negotiate a rate decrease.

3. Prepare for your call

Before you call your provider, prepare a few talking points. In addition to having a strong credit score and getting prequalified for other cards, here are a few other factors that can help your case:

  • You’ve been a customer for a long time.
  • You have a significant history of on-time payments.
  • You recently got a raise.

Ultimately, getting your APR lowered is often as simple as calling your provider, saying you’re seeking a rate decrease and explaining why you should get one.

4. Be respectful when speaking to your provider

When you call your provider, it helps to be kind to the representative — they may be more willing to do you a favor simply because you’re polite.


If the representative says no, consider asking to speak with a manager, who may have more authority to help you. Alternatively, call back and try your luck with another representative who might be more lenient.

What to do if you can’t negotiate a lower interest rate

If you’re having trouble negotiating a lower interest rate, here are a few steps to look into.

1. Apply for a 0% interest credit card

If your provider won’t lower your APR but you consider yourself a strong candidate, consider a 0% intro APR credit card.


Here are a few 0% intro APR cards we highly recommend:

Best 0% APR cards


In addition to the above cards, consider other 0% intro APR credit cards on the market.

2. Work on improving your credit score

If you negotiation and a 0% APR card are out of reach, it could be time to work on your credit score. Look at secured cards to start building credit and check out more tips for improving your score.

Bottom line

Oftentimes, it doesn’t hurt to call your provider and ask for an APR decrease — especially if you have a strong credit profile. If your provider won’t lower your rate, see if you have other credit card options.

Frequently asked questions

What credit score should I have for a 0% intro APR card?

Typically, you’ll have an easier time getting approved with at least a good FICO score of 670 and above.

How do I find the customer support number for my provider?

Look for the customer support number on the back of your credit card.

What are the factors that affect my FICO score?

Your payment history and credit utilization ratio are the two biggest factors that determine your FICO score. The other three factors — length of credit history, credit mix and new credit — contribute to a combined 35% of your score.



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The average credit score & credit card debt by state


Fair Isaac Corp.’s FICO Score and VantageScore are two of the most widely used scoring models in the country. Both models range between 300 and 850 — and the higher the score, the better. The average credit score varies greatly among different populations, ages and income levels, some of which are explored below.


The average credit score in the U.S. is at an all-time high of 711. This coincides with what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines as “prime.”

About 1 in 5 American adults either have no credit history (“credit invisible”) or are unscorable. As a result, these individuals will have difficulty obtaining new lines of credit.


In the eyes of lenders, credit scores fall into several buckets, which indicate how risky it may be to extend credit to an individual. Outside of playing a role in approvals for a loan or credit, these scores can also impact an individual’s lending terms. Perhaps the most important terms among those are interest rates.


The higher an individual’s credit score, the lower their quoted APR will typically be.

FICO credit scores break down in the following manner:

  • 800 to 850: Exceptional
  • 740 to 799: Very good
  • 670 to 739: Good
  • 580 to 669: Fair
  • 300 to 579: Very poor

This means the average credit score of 711 is in the good range.


Though the average credit score has generally improved since 2005, slight dips were seen around the Great Recession that ended in 2009. A large number of people declaring bankruptcy or defaulting on their loans would have caused their credit scores to plummet, which in turn would have affected the overall average.


Millennials (ages 24 to 39) have an average credit score of 680, while baby boomers (ages 56 to 74) have an average credit score of 736.


The average FICO Score tends to improve with age.

The average credit scores coincide with the financial situations facing younger generations. It’s usually around the millennial age range that major expenses and debt begin to rack up — such as weddings and first mortgages, among others. Despite their ages, millennials hold an average of $4,322 in credit card debt.


The other age group whose average credit score skews lower is Generation Z (ages 18 to 23). A contributing factor to this is the limited access to credit this age group faces. Following the 2009 CARD Act, it became significantly harder for 18- to 21-year-olds to open new credit card accounts. As a result, many young adults don’t begin building a credit file until later in life — driving averages down.


Americans of all ages owe debt. In fact, U.S. household debt spiked to $14.35 trillion in the third quarter of 2020 — the latest available data — amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.


And that debt is growing while more people remain out of work. The federal unemployment rate was 3.5% in February 2020 before spiking to 14.8% in April 2020. (It’s been dropping but was still at 6.7% in December 2020.)



Experian / Value Penguin


The higher one’s income level, the higher their average credit score tends to be.

While debt-to-income ratio doesn’t play a direct role in determining one’s credit score, it does have an indirect one. One of the factors lenders consider when modeling an individual’s credit risk is their credit utilization — the percentage of total available credit a consumer is using month to month.


To improve one’s credit score, credit utilization should generally be kept below 30%. The lower one’s income is, the more a consumer may rely on their credit for their expenditures.


Another way income may play into credit utilization, and ultimately one’s credit score, is by determining one’s credit limit. Credit issuers look at borrowers’ incomes when deciding on the amount of revolving credit that should be issued.


The lower one’s income, the lower their line of credit is likely to be.

In turn, by having significantly lower credit limits, it becomes easier for lower-income individuals to eat up a larger portion of what’s available, increasing their credit utilization.


The graphic belows shows that median credit scores are highly correlated to income.


For context:

  • Low income: Up to 50% of the area median income
  • Moderate income: Greater than 50% and up to 80% of the area median income
  • Medium income: Greater than 80% and up to 120% of the area median income
  • High income: More than 120% of the area median income

Aside from the ability to make monthly payments on time, which may be difficult, people with lower incomes have access to less credit, meaning their credit utilization would be higher with smaller debt. This, in turn, lowers credit scores, which can, in turn, lower credit availability.


Below are the average credit scores throughout the U.S. by ranking.


Federal Reserve Bank of New York / Value Penguin


  • Average credit score: 675
  • Average credit card debt: $4,587




  • Average credit score: 684
  • Average credit card debt: $5,127




  • Average credit score: 686
  • Average credit card debt: $5,047


Sean Pavone


  • Average credit score: 688
  • Average credit card debt: $5,848




  • Average credit score: 689
  • Average credit card debt: $5,310




  • Average credit score: 689
  • Average credit card debt: $5,693




  • Average credit score: 690
  • Average credit card debt: $5,271


  • Average credit score: 690
  • Average credit card debt: $4,791


Tara Ballard


  • Average credit score: 694
  • Average credit card debt: $4,948




  • Average credit score: 695
  • Average credit card debt: $4,686


hkim39 // istockphoto


  • Average credit score: 695
  • Average credit card debt: $5,422


Byelikova_Oksana / istockphoto


  • Average credit score: 697
  • Average credit card debt: $5,006




  • Average credit score: 698
  • Average credit card debt: $4,521


Thomas Kelley


  • Average credit score: 701
  • Average credit card debt: $5,623




  • Average credit score: 703
  • Average credit card debt: $5,121


” Darwin Brandis”


  • Average credit score: 706
  • Average credit card debt: $5,157




  • Average credit score: 707
  • Average credit card debt: $4,651




  • Average credit score: 707
  • Average credit card debt: $4,950




  • Average credit score: 710
  • Average credit card debt: $5,462




  • Average credit score: 711
  • Average credit card debt: $4,888




  • Average credit score: 712
  • Average credit card debt: $5,977




  • Average credit score: 713
  • Average credit card debt: $5,671


  • Average credit score: 714
  • Average credit card debt: $6,617




  • Average credit score: 714
  • Average credit card debt: $4,692




  • Average credit score: 716
  • Average credit card debt: $5,120




  • Average credit score: 716
  • Average credit card debt: $5,365




  • Average credit score: 717
  • Average credit card debt: $5,063




  • Average credit score: 717
  • Average credit card debt: $5,992




  • Average credit score: 718
  • Average credit card debt: $5,414




  • Average credit score: 719
  • Average credit card debt: $5,256




  • Average credit score: 719
  • Average credit card debt: $5,182




  • Average credit score: 720
  • Average credit card debt: $4,582




  • Average credit score: 720
  • Average credit card debt: $5,080




  • Average credit score: 721
  • Average credit card debt: $4,676


  • Average credit score: 721
  • Average credit card debt: $5,978




  • Average credit score: 723
  • Average credit card debt: $6,040




  • Average credit score: 723
  • Average credit card debt: $4,900


” 4kodiak”


  • Average credit score: 725
  • Average credit card debt: $5,541


Jacob Boomsma / istockphoto


  • Average credit score: 726
  • Average credit card debt: $4,289




  • Average credit score: 726
  • Average credit card debt: $4,785




  • Average credit score: 727
  • Average credit card debt: $5,614


Art Wager


  • Average credit score: 727
  • Average credit card debt: $4,681




  • Average credit score: 728
  • Average credit card debt: $4,819




  • Average credit score: 729
  • Average credit card debt: $5,141




  • Average credit score: 729
  • Average credit card debt: $5,327




  • Average credit score: 730
  • Average credit card debt: $4,865




  • Average credit score: 730
  • Average credit card debt: $5,238




  • Average credit score: 731
  • Average credit card debt: $4,633




  • Average credit score: 731
  • Average credit card debt: $4,653




  • Average credit score: 732
  • Average credit card debt: $4,376




  • Average credit score: 739
  • Average credit card debt: $4,767



This article originally appeared on ValuePenguin.comand was syndicated by




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