Financial Empowerment: Influencing Your Interest Rate

This is the first in a series of articles designed to help you empower your finances and take charge of your fiscal well-being.

If you’re in the market for any type of loan or credit, you know that interest rates are an important factor in deciding which loan and product you end up going with. When you borrow money from a financial institution for a car or home or even through the use of a credit card, you have to pay a lender for the use of that money; this is where the interest rate comes in.  While there are some factors in the lending process that you have no control over (for instance, an interest rate is made up of the margin and the index, and the index is determined by an outside indicator beyond the institution you’re talking with!), there are many ways you can put yourself in a great position to get the very best interest rates.

Become a Perfect Candidate

While it may seem obvious, presenting yourself as a great client for a financial institution is a great start to getting the interest rate you want. Things that your lender will be looking for includes having an established job that you’ve been with for a while (this shows stability in your employment), having a good history in terms of paying bills and paying back debt and presenting realistic aspirations for purchases. Consider your proposition from the lender’s point of view; is the amount you’re asking for realistic in the scope of your other expenses and income?

Present a Stellar Credit Report

Credit reports not only demonstrate your credit history, but they prove that you’re reliable when it comes to your finances. Before you apply for a loan or credit card, it’s a good idea to obtain a copy of your credit report so you can check for errors and be sure your score is where you thought it would be. If you aren’t satisfied with your current credit score, be sure to consider the different factors that go into a credit score as you start rebuilding your credit.

Keep Your Eye on the Fees

While some rates may seem very appealing, you can find yourself paying more than you expected once fees are piled on top. Because interest rates are so low right now, “the strategy we are seeing for consumers is not to look so much at the rate but to avoid fees,” says James Royal, vice president, director of marketing for Informa Research Services, Inc. 

Now it’s your turn! What helpful tips do you have to share for saving money on interest rates? 

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