3 Ways to Leverage Low Interest Rates

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The headlines are clear: We’re at a historic time in the bank interest rate market, where rates are scraping the floor.

Look, for example, at mortgage rates. Right now, the average interest rate for a 30-year home loan is only 4.443%, as measured by the BankingMyWay Weekly Mortgage Rate tracker - that’s the lowest rate since President Eisenhower was in office.

Or how about a new car loan? The BankingMyWay National Auto Loan Rate tracker has rates for a new car at 5.021%. Back in 2007, the average rate for most new car loans went as high as 6.8%.

So don’t just stand there – take advantage with these three great ways to make hay with low rates:

Get a low mortgage rate

Let’s say you live in beautiful Bucks County, Penn. and you’re in the market for a new home. A quick scan of the BankingMyWay Mortgage Rate Search engine shows 30-year mortgage rates as low as 4.125% from Bank of America (Stock Quote: BAC) or even 4.00% from Century Point Mortgage. Real estate professionals don’t often use the term “ridiculous” to describe the mortgage rate environment – but they’re using it now.

Get a better credit card

A few years ago, the introductory “0% rate” on some new credit cards lasted only a year or less. Now, credit card companies are stretching out low introductory card rates on full balance transfers to as much as 18 months with the More card from Discover (Stock Quote: DSC) or 21 months with Citi’s (Stock Quote: C) Platinum Select MasterCard. So if you have a high-balance card, you can roll that debt into an interest-free card for a longer period. Card fees on these deals are lower, too.

Pay off your debts as if rates were 1% higher

Here’s a big money-saver: Let’s say you refinanced your home mortgage from a 6.00% rate to a 5.00% rate. Instead of making your minimum payments on the lower amount, forget that you refinanced and keep paying your mortgage as you used to. Just use an old mortgage statement and pay that amount every month. Ignore the new monthly amount due. You can save big money over the life of your mortgage if you play the “forget the new rate” game. BankingMyWay has a great mortgage interest rate calculator to help you figure out your savings over the long haul.

No doubt about it, you can save a bundle with lower interest rates. But there’s theory and then there’s action – and the only way you’re going to reap those savings is to engage in less of the former and more of the latter.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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