A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is one of the better bargains intoday's financial world. Interest rates on HELOCs, which are usually tied to theprime rate, have followed that benchmark down to an average of 4.7%, comparedwith rates of 6% to 7% on fixed-rate mortgages. Shop aroundâ€”manybanks are offering rates below prime to drum up business. Many borrowersstep up payments on HELOCs when interest rates are high, but consumerexperts counsel the opposite. Paying more toward the loan when rates are low,as they are now, lets you retire the debt faster and also helps ease the pain of anyincrease in interest rates in the future.