Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. This is true whether you’re looking for a room upgrade at a hotel or could use the leg room of first class on a business flight. The same principle is true with credit card interest rates. Sure, we all go around with the mind set that the interest we pay to the credit card companies is just the cost of being able to buy things we wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. But even a small reduction in the amount of interest you pay can get you moving quickly toward something we all like to see: zero balance.
There are a few tricks to getting your credit card companies to consider lowering your interest rate.
- Pay your bill on time every month. If you have late payments or skipped payments, it will be unlikely that you will be able to convince the credit card company to lower your interest rate.
- Pay more than the minimum payment each month. Even if you are only paying $5-10 more than the minimum, it shows a sense of responsibility that the credit card company is likely to recognize.
- Start with the credit cards you’ve had the longest. Customer loyalty goes a long way in any business, and as competitive as the credit card industry is, it matters to them, too.
Before you call the credit card company and request a reduction in your interest rate, do some homework. If you’ve received offers from other companies for credit cards with lower interest rates and similar features, keep them handy. Know your credit history and credit rating.
When you call, be armed with some facts. Let them know that you can switch to another company and get a better rate, but that you would prefer to stay with the company you’ve been doing business with for so long. Point out that you have a stellar payment history with them.
And, don’t take “no” for an answer, at least not from the rep who answers the phone.
The people answering the phone are gatekeepers – they answer the basic calls, have a set script from which they work, and have limited authority to make changes. If they can’t do anything for you, politely ask if you could speak to a supervisor to have your request reconsidered.
When it comes to credit card negotiations, persistency pays. You have to do your part by paying on time, but credit card companies don’t want to lose you. It never hurts to ask.