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South Carolina Interest Rates Laws

Maybe it’s the prospect of having a little extra spending money. Maybe it’s the holiday season and you need to get a big gift. Or maybe you’re in a bit of a financial bind and need to pay some bills. Whatever the circumstance, we’ve all been enticed by credit cards offers at one time or another. But even when we promise ourselves we’ll be responsible with these cards, a high interest rate can get us into hot water in a hurry.

So are there limits on what credit cards can charge as interest? Fortunately for us, the Palmetto State has some consumer protection laws that limit interest rates on credit cards, judgments, and loans. Here are the basics of interest rates laws in South Carolina.

Interest Rates Laws

Nearly every state has its own interest rate laws that place a cap on the amount of interest creditors can charge their customers. At the moment, the legal maximum for credit debt in South Carolina is 8.75%. However, the interest rate for money decrees and court judgments is “equal to the prime rate as listed in the first edition of the Wall Street Journal published for each calendar year for which the damages are awarded, plus four percentage points, compounded annually.”

Interest Rates Laws in South Carolina

The chart below highlights some of South Carolina's interest rate laws.

Code Section

South Carolina Code of Laws 34-31-20: Legal Rate of Interest

Legal Maximum Rate of Interest

8.75% (§34-31-20)

Penalty for Usury (Unlawful Interest Rate)

Usury penalty laws repealed June 25, 1982, but old law may apply to transactions before then (formerly §34-31-50)

Interest Rates on Judgments

12% (§34-31-20)

Exceptions

See South Carolina Consumer Protection Code (§37-1-101 et seq.)

In most cases, the best way to avoid getting into financial trouble with a high interest rate is to avoid credit card debt entirely. The best strategies are generally using your credit cards responsibly and paying off the entire balance as soon as you can, every billing cycle if possible. If you do find yourself in significant credit debt, there may be some consumer protections under federal law that can help.

South Carolina Interest Rate Laws: Related Resources

Deciphering the terms of service for credit cards or loans can seem like translating a foreign language. For more articles and resources on this topic, you can visit FindLaw’s section on Usury Laws and Limits on Credit Card Interest Rates. If you would like legal assistance regarding an interest rate or credit card matter, you can contact a South Carolina consumer protection attorney.

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