February 6, 2008
Our friends at the Fed recently lowered interest rates sharply -- and then did so again. My Foolish colleague Chuck Saletta doubts Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's wisdom, while Matt Koppenheffer sees merits in his actions. And while you probably know that the rate cuts will affect those taking out or refinancing mortgages, you may not know that the credit cards in your wallet could be affected, too.
Given a total drop of 1.25% in just the past few weeks, and 2.25% since September, you'd think that your trusty credit card-issuing bank would have lowered your credit card rates accordingly. In some cases, you'd be right -- but not in all.
Our friends at lowcards.com recently pointed out:
The rates for some of the more popular cards have actually increased. It is very important to make sure you are getting the benefit of these rate decreases. If not, it is time to shop around for a credit card with a lower rate.
Here are some of their findings:
- The rate for Blue from American Express (NYSE: AXP ) fell 0.5% in October, but recently jumped back up to its pre-October rate of 12.24%.
- JPMorgan Chase's (NYSE: JPM ) Chase Freedom card hiked its rate from 14.24% in September to 17.24% in January.
- Citigroup's (NYSE: C ) Citi Platinum Select card, though, has seen its rate drop from 10.24% in September to 8.49% in January.
Take some time to look into your own cards' rates. If they seem too high, call and ask whether the company will reduce them for you. Failing that, consider looking around for a new card. You'll find gobs of help in navigating the weird world of credit in our Credit Center.
Drop by our Credit Cards and Consumer Debt discussion board, too, to see what others are saying about their credit cards and debt.
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