7 On your side: Money is now being made after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates
But what does that mean for you?
Matt Schulz is a credit card pro at Lending Tree, an online marketplace where consumers can shop for the best rates on home loans and credit. His #1 tip to take away from the recent rate hike: Transfer your credit card debt to a 0% interest card.
“The Federal Reserve just hiked interest rates, and when that happens, pretty much every credit card in America goes up by the same amount in about a billing cycle or two,” he said. “A zero percent balance transfer card can be an absolute godsend for people who have credit card debt because they can basically give you 12 months, 15 months, up to 21 months without having to pay interest on that transfer and the balance.”
It’s a bad time to be in debt, especially when you’re juggling large balances on multiple credit cards.
“I got to the point where I had nine credit cards,” said credit card shopper Ryan Masajo. “Six of them were working at full capacity.”
You can also consider a debt consolidation loan.
Masajo took out a personal loan to consolidate six credit cards into one payment at a lower interest rate. He used SoFi, an online one-stop shop for personal finance.
“7.5% versus 9% to 25%,” Masajo said.
SoFi’s financial planners say rising interest rates are the perfect time to refinance your debt, but warn that taking out a loan isn’t for everyone.
It takes discipline to stay on budget.
“You really make sure you can stop the behavior that put you in debt before you can even think about getting out of debt,” said Brian Walsh, a SoFi-certified financial planner.
If you don’t want to take out a loan or don’t qualify, ask your current credit card issuer to consider lowering your interest rate.
You have a better chance if you are a long-time customer in good standing.
“You don’t have to sit back and simply accept rising interest rates,” said Schulze. “You can call your credit card issuer and ask them for a lower interest rate, and about 70% of people who do that get their way. And the average reduction is about seven percentage points, with far too few people asking, and it’s a really big deal.”
One thing is for sure: if you don’t ask for an interest rate adjustment, you won’t get one.
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