Gephardt Busts Inflation: The key to saving money on your credit card bills

Jan 26, 2023, 10:43 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — More Utahns are carrying debt, but the thing is – many of those folks have no idea how much interest they are paying on their debt.

Ask just about anybody if they know what their credit card’s annual percentage rate is and you will get just about the same answer.

These are the responses I got:

“I do not, but my wife does.”

“I do not.”

“I know it’s high.”

It’s not just good people on the streets being accosted by a reporter who are not wise to their APRs. Not knowing your credit card interest rate is a bit of a norm according to a new survey from Bankrate  43% of people who carry credit card debt “say they don’t know the attached interest rates.” As high as 50% of younger zoomers are ignorant of their APRs.

“It does bug me that so many people don’t know their rate,” said Bankrate’s senior industry analyst, Ted Rossman, who said trying to get out of debt without knowing your rate makes it really tough to come up with a good strategy to pay it off.

“If you have debt, I mean, no shame a lot of people do, but you have to make that interest rate a priority.”

Not doing so could have you working harder than you need to.

For example, a credit card with an interest rate hovering near 30% will make you pay more to borrow money than a credit card at 20% APR. So rather than making equal payments to both cards, paying off the 30% APR card makes more financial sense. Or better yet, maybe you qualify for a zero-balance transfer card that will let you transfer all that debt to a card where you will not have to pay any interest for 12, 18, or 24 months.

“There’s a saying that credit cards are like power tools, they could be really useful or they could be dangerous,” Rossman said.

You have seen the ads: credit card companies love to entice potential borrowers with their perks – airline miles, rewards points, cash back and what have you. So it may not surprise you to know the Bankrate study that found people did not know their interest rates found people do know about their perks.

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Gephardt Busts Inflation: The key to saving money on your credit card bills