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Typical Credit Card APRs

Typical APRs for credit cards can range and vary dramatically from card to card, bank to bank.  In most cases, a card will offer a range of APRs (hereafter referred to as “rates”).  It may be listed as something along the lines of “9.0% to 22.90%.”  The rate you end up receiving is often based on your creditworthiness as determined by your credit report and history, and interpreted by the card issuer.

A big key is to be familiar with your own credit profile, so that you can make an educated guess as to where you will land on the APR spectrum.  Granted, you should never assume you’ll get a specific rate – especially the lowest rate.  Be sure to compare all cards first, including features other than just the APR, and ensure that the card you are applying for offers the best overall value.  And always assume you will not get the lowest rate.  It’s better to plan for a higher rate and get a lower one than the other way around.

Also keep in mind that many cards offer introductory “teaser rates.”  These are often rates that are lower and set for a very specific period of time.  For example, a common teaser rate could be “0% on all balance transfers for 12 months.”  In this scenario, if you open a new card and transfer some balances from other cards, you’ll have that debt with zero interest for 12 months.  However, at the end of the 12 month period, the interest rate will go up, typically to their standard rate at the time.  This information should always be disclosed in the paperwork on the front end, so it should not be a surprise.  But it is important to be aware of these situations so you know how to plan for the future of your credit card debt and how much it will ultimately cost you.

Typical credit card APRs can vary greatly.  Be sure to examine any and all documentation when evaluating a credit card offer to determine the rates available as well as if there are any teaser rates and the terms that apply.  Also, be educated about your credit profile so you have a better idea as to what kind of rate you could possibly qualify for – but never assume!  As with all things related to credit, being knowledgeable about yourself, your credit, and the credit options available to you will always be your best weapon.

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