I am a servicemember and I have an existing credit card balance. Can I get any relief from the finance charges?

Answer: While you're on active duty, if you notify the card company of your active duty status in writing, the maximum interest rate you can be charged on any amount you owed before entering active-duty military service is 6 percent.

 For this purpose, interest includes not just periodic interest charges, but also other finance charges and certain other fees, such as an annual fee, related to the debt.

For members of the full-time active-duty military, SCRA protections begin the day you enter the military. For a Reservist or Guardsman, SCRA protections begin the day you receive your mobilization orders.

To get the benefit of the SCRA, you must notify your credit card company of your active-duty status in writing because the law says that you are the one who must request the interest-rate reduction from your lender. You must send a written letter, which includes a copy of your orders, to the card issuer. Include in your letter a request that your interest rate be reduced to 6 percent while you are on active duty. 

Some credit card issuers may even be willing to reduce your interest rate further than the SCRA requires.

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