When getting any kind of loan, student loan or home mortgage it may be, the one thing we are all nervous about is the interest rate. After all, it determines how much in total we will be paying at the end of the road. For those who were smart enough to do some due diligence before applying, you may just be rewarded with a lower interest rate. Here are 4 smart tips to get you the rate you want.

1. Take Advantage of the 30-day Credit Window – We all know that one of the things that affects our credit score is shopping for the best interest rates. As ironic as this may sound, jumping from one lender to another in the hopes of finding a good rate can actually bring your score down. However, there is a 30-day credit window for private student loans that can afford you the luxury to do just that. At the end of the 30-day window, you will appear as if you’ve only gone to one lender (whether you’ve accepted them or not). This window can help you because it allows you to have lenders calculate your potential rates and it gives you the liberty to decline them or look for a better offer.

2. Make Use of APR Reductions – With the current economic state, lenders are all vying for your money. This means they have little promotions that make the loan juicier for you. This includes reducing your APR. Commonly, there is a reduction of 0.25% APR should you choose to pay off your bills via an auto-debit function. Plus, some banks will give even more deductions if you pay off your accounts through them. They can call it double business, but you can call it opportunity.

3. Know your Index – Before, the only student loans available are those variable upon an index. Rates are attached to a certain index, and the chances of it going up or down will depend upon said index. The most commonly used are London Interbank Bank Offering Rate (LIBOR) and Prime Interest Rate. Before committing to your interest rate, check the volatility of these indexes over a 6-month or 12-month duration. If you notice that the index is swinging dramatically, so will your rate. Just recently however, fixed private student loans have become available with a rate that doesn’t change for the length of your term.

4. Bad Credit Score? Get a co-signer – And finally, if you have a bad credit score, you can opt to bring in a co-signer with a strong credit history. This could be anyone, your parents, grandparents, extended family members, and basically anybody you can find who’d agree.

Most business deals are usually made with negotiations. When a lender gives you a rate, don’t immediately settle for it. Remember, there are ways to bring it down.

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