Lower Credit Card Rates? Just Ask!
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When’s the last time you saw the interest rate and fees on your credit card go down? Yes, you read that right. Down.
If you’re like most Americans, the likely answer to this question is never. Now, what if I told you that eliminating your fees and slashing your interest rate by five, ten or fifteen percent is as easy as picking up the phone and dialing the number on the back of the card? Yes, seriously! Just follow these two easy steps, and you’ll be on your way to lower credit card rates and more money in your pocket! (See also: 10 Monthly Bills You Can Slash)
The first step to reducing your credit card rates is to know your history. What rate are you paying now? How many years have you been with the company? Do you always make, at least, the minimum payment? Have you ever been late? This information will come in handy when asking the credit card company for a lower rate.
The second step is to call the company, and tell them you want a lower rate. More than likely, they will tell you no the first time you ask. Why? Because the higher your rate, the more money they make! But don’t take no for an answer! If they tell you no, inform them of your positive history with the company. Remind them how you’ve been a loyal customer for 10 years, or have never paid late. If the answer is still no, ask to speak with a supervisor. If the supervisor says no, wait 15 minutes and call again. You’ll be speaking with an entirely different person.
What if they keep telling you no? Or what if you’ve been a less than stellar client? What if you haven’t paid on time or didn’t make the minimum payment? Then it’s time for the Credit Card Rate Hail Mary. Tell them that you’ve received other offers in the mail, and if they do not meet those offers you will cancel your card. (Make sure you have a few real or pretend offers to give to them as examples.)
The key to lowering your rate is to be persistent and to remember that the credit card business is fiercely competitive. They would rather keep you as a customer than spend money on attracting a new customer. Even if you aren’t a great customer, you should still ask for a lower rate. If you carry a balance, two or three percentage points lower on your credit card rate can make a sizeable difference! Remember: If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
Below is a sample script to read to the credit card company:
"Hi, my name is __________________ . I have been a good customer for _________ years, but I’ve received numerous offers in the mail from other companies offering much lower rates. For example, I have an offer here for a _________ APR. I want to stay with your company, but I also want a lower rate on my card. What can you do for me?"
These tips will also work for increasing your limit. Just replace “lower rates” with “higher limits” and “APR” with “limit”.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain.