Fixed Rate Vs. Variable Rate Credit Cards

Posted by nick_niesen on October 29th, 2010

Although it is mostly industry practice to charge a variable rate of interest on outstanding credit balances at a certain percentage rate above Prime Lending Rate, it is possible, these days, to obtain a fixed rate credit card. So, when would you want to apply for a fixed rate credit card over a variable rate credit card?

The answer to this may not actually sound as simply as you may think. Two factor need to be borne in mind: first, what is the Prime Lending Rate at the moment; and second, what are the chances of the percentage rate plus Prime Lending Rate going above the fixed rate?

If you feel that borrowing rates are cheap at the moment and that it is unlikely that Prime Lending Rate is going to go up in the near future, then in all likelihood having the variable rate credit card is going to be more of a benefit to you than having a fixed rate credit card. However, if the opposite is true, and you believe that there is a good chance that Prime Lending Rate is going to up in the near future, there may be a very good reason for you to want to lock-in your interest rate at the current fixed rate being offered by the card provider.

One exception to the fixed rate vs. variable rate credit cards debate comes into play if you can manage to obtain a fixed rate with a card provider on the transfer of your credit card balance to a new card provider. In this circumstance it could prove to be a very useful money saving policy to agree to the fixed rate for the initial 6 or more month period as, traditionally, fixed rates for transferring balances are very low. You do, however, need to be extremely careful that any variable rate that comes into play following the fixed rate period is not excessive.

Alternatively, you need to ensure (a) that you have made as much of a repayment as is possible during your fixed rate term that you only have a minimum outstanding balance on the day the balance transfers over to a variable rate; or (b) you have the option of transferring the credit card balance outstanding to another new card provider who is also offering a very low fixed rate of interest.

In any case, these days the debate over fixed rate vs. variable rate credit cards is certainly more interesting than was ever the case previously!


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Also See: Credit Card, Prime Lending, Card Provider, Credit Cards, Fixed, Credit, Card
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