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Credit Q&A: Does Interest Rate Affect Your Credit Score?

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Emily from Ohio has been told that if you pay off a credit card with another credit card that has a lower interest rate, it will lower your credit score.  She wants to know if that is true.

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In fact, it is not true.  The interest rate you pay on your credit card is not reported to the credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) by the credit card issuer.  As such, the credit bureau score does not take credit card interest rate into consideration when evaluating your credit card activity and calculating the score. Generally speaking, paying down credit card debt will have a positive effect on the credit score.  The exact impact on score will depend on your unique credit card usage trends and your other credit report information.

Typically, paying down (or paying off) the balance from one card with checks or a balance transfer feature from another credit card will not help improve the score substantially as the overall debt is not being reduced, but rather being shifted around.  However, independent of your credit score, this may be a prudent strategy if it allows you to take advantage of lower interest rate charges if you carry a balance.

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In the below example, a 2% reduction in interest rate results in a savings of $727 dollars in interest rate paid (holding all else constant and assuming no new charges).

Scenario A Scenario B
Balance $10,000 $10,000
Monthly Payment $200 $200
Interest Rate 14% 12%
Months to Pay Off 55 52
Interest Paid $3,590 $2,863

Image: e y e / s e e, via Flickr.com

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  • Elizabeth

    Does signing with a Financial Services ( http://www.mycommonsense.com) would be a good step for me by lowering my interest rate so I can payoff my credit cards faster? does this affect my credit score since they might do an inquiry during the process of them asking my banks to lower the interest rate? please advise. thanks

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