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Credit card interest rates spike, post-Fed

Category: Finance,Retail

"One of the most important things you can do when you've cut all you can but still have debt is reduce the interest rate you're paying on it," Walser said.

If you ask your credit card issuer to drop an annual fee, waive late charges or reduce your interest rate, your credit card company is highly likely to say yes, according to a separate survey also from

The success rate, while good across the board, varied based on the type of request cardholders made:

  • 85 percent who asked received a higher credit limit.
  • 84 percent had a late-payment fee waived.
  • 70 percent got their annual fee dropped or reduced.
  • 56 percent received a lower interest rate.

Despite those odds, only a small number of cardholders are making each type of request, mostly because they aren't aware it's an option.

Alternatively, cardholders carrying debt can also shop around for a better rate or snag a zero-interest balance transfer offer. Then, begin to aggressively pay down the balance. (Rossman recommends the Chase Slate or American Express Everyday, which both offer 15 months at 0 percent if you make the transfer within the first 60 days of opening the account.)

More from Personal Finance:
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On the upside, credit card fees, including late fees and balance transfers, are now less common than they have been in the past.

The average credit card now charges 5.5 potential fees, down from 5.9 a year ago, found. The most common fees are for late payments, which can be as much as $38 a pop, cash advances and balance transfers, which can range from 3 percent to 5 percent.

At the same time, credit card delinquencies are also down, according to the latest report by the American Bankers Bulletin. The report defines a delinquency as a payment that's 30 days or more overdue.

Delinquencies fell to 2.93 percent of all accounts, below their 15-year average of 3.55 percent.

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