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I have a friend that has five credit cards of debt. A couple of the cards have high interest rates (20-25%). The rest are 15% and below. The total debt combined of all five cards is ~$10k.

How does one go about consolidating their credit card debt to bring down those high interests rates? I've personally never had to do this because I'm pretty good with my money. How else can these interest rates be lowered? This friend has usually made payments on time, but there have been a few late payments here and there.

I already helped my friend make a budget and told them to pay min on all cards and put the rest on the highest interest one. Is there anything else I can suggest?

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The best way I know of to get the interest rate lowered is to call the credit card company and simply ask. Typically if a credit card company thinks you will leave them for another company they will be willing to work with you. There is also the option of transfering some of the higher interest debt to one of the lower interest credit cards.

It sounds like you have your friend on the right track by focusing all extra money on the credit card with the highest interest rate. Then after that one is paid off send all extra to the next highest one and so on. The classic "snowball" effect.

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    +1 for ask. If they tell you no, you can ask for the retention department and tell them you'll be taking your money elsewhere because they won't lower your rate. That may be enough to get them to lower the rate. – Alex B Aug 17 '10 at 15:48
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Since I can't vote up the answer yet, I will agree with it here.

I find the best tactic when you call is to tell them you have an offer in hand and will use it if they don't match the rate exactly or discount it enough to save you the trouble of going through the process of a balance transfer.

So if they balk and say "No," then walk and go (to the in hand offer).

Just remember, the worst they can say is "No." If you don't even bother to ask, it's as if you did and they said "No," as either scenario leaves you with the same result: an unchanged interest rate.

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