My main credit experience is in Canada. Almost all credit cards here have a standard rate for all customers, usually 18.99 or 19.99%. In the US only a couple of my cards are that low, with most being in the 26% range - I get that, I have little history, and since I PIF it doesn't afllfect me.
But should I care about it? Will any of my cards ever lower the rate without me using it as a revolver? Will I get better rates on new cards in future as my score increases?
Yes you should care there may be a time where you have to revolve and carry balances. As your Fico and payment history improves then you should qualify for lower rates on your cards. CUs offer much lower rates than major banks even to young credit files.
If you're PIF, then no, it's not that big of a deal. Some lenders do entertain APR reductions & I typically ask that question before app'n. Navy Federal for instance will allow an APR reduction request once a year. They also reduced my APR by a half point when I asked for a CLI, so it truly varies per lender.
Seems like you have a good amount of cards in your siggy. If you garden for a while and age things a bit, you can probably get your credit health up enough to qualify for lower rates for future apps. 😊
It depends what you mean by care! If you PIF always and expect to be able to continue doing so, I certainly wouldn't trade rewards for lower APR (i.e. taking a card with lower rewards and APR over one with higher ones).
I also find the "just in case" argument a little uncompelling as it only applies, IMO, to a small set of circumstances. If you have huge emergency bills that you cannot pay off fairly quickly: a) in meaningful outcome there's not a huge difference between being swamped by a 25% APR vs a 10% APR, one just causes BK quicker, and b) if you are paying for any length of time, your low APR will go away as creditors reduce limits and/or raise rates as allowed.
So it only makes sense for "small" emergencies where your emergency fund runs out.
And lastly, on the recreational front, I think there can be some negative to contacting lenders for this type of request. There is a cost for a rep to handle it, and it's a revenue decreasing request from the issuer viewpoint anyway. It doesn't increase your value as a customer, which may matter at some stage.
If one has a large enough emergency fund, and you feel you can pif if you get laid off, or gave an unexpected expense, then you shouldn't worry about it.
As a PIF'er myself, my answer is "No, you should not care". But I also have an additional viewpoint/datapoint:
Some of my cards constantly send me 0% promo rates for (usually) 12 months. I believe I am constantly bombarded with these offers because I never carry a balance, but I could be wrong. If I ever need to ride a balance, I can just activate one of their offers.
I don't, for the most part. In case I need to carry a balance, I would go to my lowest APR card, or a bal transfer card.
I would advocate that yes, caring about APR matters greatly, at least to me in my own experience. A person can always PIF but since we never really know if or when an emergency may occur, it's always a good idea imo to have at least one (or more) cards with a low APR available.