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Dealing with credit card debt is hard enough, but did you know that the average U.S. household with revolving credit card debt incurs interest charges of $904 per year? There’s only one way to completely eliminate interest and that is by paying your balances in full each month. Rest assured that if you can’t pay down your debt in full each month, there are steps that you can take to lower your interest rates that will save you hundreds of dollars each year.

1. Pay off your cards with higher interest rates first

Pay off the balance of your cards with the highest interest rate in order to save the most money. Then, continue moving down the list until you reach the card with the lowest interest rate. For example, paying an extra $100 toward a credit card with an annual interest rate of 24% will be more beneficial than paying the same amount toward a credit card with 19% interest rate. Don’t be discouraged if your card with the highest interest rate is also the one with the highest balance. Remember, your goal is to save money long run.

2. Make more than one payment each month

Did you know that interest is based in your average daily balance? Not the balance that you have at the end of each month! If you make at least two payments each month, you will lower your average daily balance, which will lower your interest charges. Try making a payment each time you get paid, or every two weeks! Don’t wait until the due date to apply the payment.

3. Try to avoid putting medical expenses on a credit card

Oh goodness - the dreaded medical bills! I think we can all agree that medical expenses, especially those that are unexpected, totally suck! But, putting them on your credit card is not the answer. If you owe a lot of money, you will end up paying hundreds of dollars in interest. Always speak with your doctor or the hospital billing department to learn more about your options. Ask about an interest-free payment plan and try to make monthly payments instead.

4. Negotiate a lower interest rate

If you didn’t know this was an option - now you know!!! Keep in mind, before calling the customer service number on the back of the card, make sure have been paying your bill on time and take note of how much you’ve been spending each month. Do your research too! Shop around to see if you find better deals with competing credit card companies. You can use this as leverage during your phone call and maybe they can agree to match the rate of the competitors. Also, make sure to call your oldest card first as companies want to make sure their loyal customers are happy! ;)

Here’s an awesome script from you can use in case you need a little help finding the right words to say:
“Hello, my name is _____. I’ve been a customer of _____ bank since ___, and I’m interested in securing a lower interest rate. I’ve made an effort to make ontime payments, and I funnel ___ dollars per [month/year] through this card. I’ve recently been offered a new credit card with [competing credit card company]. It has a similar structure to yours, but they offer ___% interest rates. I’d like to stay with you based on our history, but the new offer is compelling. Would you be willing to match that offer?”

Your conversation can go several ways: they can agree to the interest rate requested, they can compromise with another amount, or they will flat out say no.

If you do get approved for a lower interest rate, ask for written notification of this change and a date you should expect to receive it. If they say no, be persistent and try again in the future. You know what they say, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Either way, always remember to be polite to your customer service representative!

5. Transfer your balance to a 0% interest card

This should be your last option. A balance transfer card will move your debt from one card to another. Ideally, you want to look for one with 0% interest rate during an introductory period that can range anywhere from 12 to 21 months. However, there is usually a 3 to 5 percent fee when you transfer balances from one card to another. Plan to pay off your debt during the 0% introductory period so you can avoid paying interest. You can learn more about balance transfer cards and some of the best balance transfer cards of 2018 here: card-debt If you’re tired of spending hundreds of dollars in credit card interest each year, make sure to follow these steps to start saving yourself that extra cash! You can also check out Ray and Justo from Keeping it Real with Credit talk more about lowering the interest rate on credit cards by checking out the video below!

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