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Call your credit card company

Posted by mcpeg (My Page) on
Fri, Mar 7, 08 at 7:11

Sample script: Asking for a lower credit card rate
By Lucy Lazarony

Getting a lower interest rate from your credit card company is easier than you think. In many cases, all you have to do is call and ask.

- advertisement -

So flip over the back of your credit card and dial the 800 number for customer service. Not sure what to say?

Here's a sample script suggested by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. It's short and sweet.

Hi, my name is [Your Name]. I am a good customer, but I have received several offers in the mail from other credit card companies with lower APRs. I want a lower rate on my card, or I will cancel my card and switch companies.

You can throw in additional details if you wish. For example, if you're a long-time customer or you've never been late with a payment, go ahead and tell them.

The main thing is to make it clear that you will cancel your card if they don't give you a lower interest rate. Be persistent.

If a customer service rep can't help you, ask for a supervisor.

If you get turned down, don't cut up your card just yet. Give them one more chance. Make the same call another day. You may reach a more cooperative customer service rep. You may be sent to an agent who specializes in keeping customers who are threatening to leave.

Once again, be persistent and make it clear that you'll close your account if your interest rate is not lowered.

If your card company really won't budge, it's time to start looking for a better deal.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Call your credit card company

Better yet... charge only what you can afford and PAY IT OFF every month!

Then it doesn't matter WHAT the interest rate is... and you save time on phone calls.

RE: Call your credit card company

My card has some dastardly high rate -- I think it's 23%. I always pay it off every month, and I'm never late. Last year, I finally set up electronic transfers so I wouldn't have to depend on the U.S. Mail. I have never carried a balance. I use the card as a convenience. Every once in a while, they will raise my limit, though most months I charge less than $1,000 (which includes EVERYTHING -- groceries, clothes, and incidentals), so I've never come near the limit.

So the rate doesn't really affect me, but man, that is high! It's scary. I've been thinking of canceling this account just for that reason and finding a card that at least gives airline miles or dividends or a free toaster or something.

RE: Call your credit card company

We have two cards: one has miles and an annual fee, the other offers no whistles & bells. We use the mileage card when we have a large purchase that we have set aside the cash to pay for it. That way we get the miles without incurring the interest (I'm not sure, but I think it's about 18%). The other card I use for online purchases. The interest rate is 9%. But since we keep no balances on either card, I see no point in trying to get the interest rate lowered (or looking for another card)

RE: Call your credit card company

Good idea Peg for those who 'do' carry a balance regularly, or who occasionally are not able to pay it off in full.

Here is an interesting note. I used to get credit card offers all the time for 0% interest on balance transfers for X number of months with no transfer fee. I've noticed that those offers no longer exist. They might be for a great low rate for X number of months, but they always have the 3% fee tacked on them.

Occasionally I talk to customer service with questions about my bill. When we have things all settled they will always let me know I am eligible for $$$ for balance transfers at a great low rate. I always tell them I am not interested and I won't be interested until they can give me the 0% for X number of months with 'no' transfer fee, as they used to. That really blows the wind out of their sales and they quit wasting my time.
I have yet to receive any 'good' offers in the mail.


RE: Call your credit card company

I heard a message about this on the CBC radio a day or so ago and thought that I should write about it here - so thanks, McPeg.

I was rather surprised that about 6 out of 10 who so requested were able to achieve their request.

Most were brought down from around 19% to about 9%, if I recall correctly.

One guy was quite disappointed ... when he realized how much interest that he'd paid, over several years - when he could have paid a lot less ... just for asking!

I agree with the other poster here - pay your balance off in full every month, resulting in paying no interest, regardless of the rate that the company would have charged had you carried balances for several months.

Have a fruitful weekend, everyone.

ole joyful

RE: Call your credit card company

I have had a Discover for years and years, never late, usually paid off in full. I noticed one day a couple of years ago that they had really crept their rate up on me (I don't look at this stuff nearly as often as I should). I had just built a house so had been carrying a balance. So I called and asked, and they wouldn't lower it! So I did a balance transfer and quit using their card. I checked and double checked but I had to pay to do the transfer (maybe I should get a different MC, but I was po'ed and did it anyway. I don't think they cared. I felt better though. A year or so I went through this again and they did lower it, I think it depends on who you talk to. Of course then they popped it back up again hoping you aren't paying attention. Seems like I forget about it for months and when I check - dang! Its back up. Really annoying. But to keep shopping for cards - I hate to have so many opening and closing credit cards on my credit.

RE: Call your credit card company

But to keep shopping for cards - I hate to have so many opening and closing credit cards on my credit.
When they cross me, I just inform them that I won't be using their card anymore...that it will be stored safely at the back of the file (or whatever) and never carried or used....just to let them know it is unlikely I will ever be using them.

I rather think that the average joe customer service really does not care much. Maybe it would get their attention if one was to drop the 'approved amount from 5, 10, 20, or 50 K down to say $500...and then stick it in drawer. It seems they really want to give us some money (debt) yet aren't willing to give folks even with super credit rating, super rates.

I just checked and my Discover (the only one I regularly use and always pay off each month) has a rate of 17.49% for purchases, and 22.99% for cash advances.

Sheesh...Let's revolt! I think I'll call now and ask that they remove that cash advance option....suggesting for security reasons. That rate is outrageous. When I checked a score (it wasn't FICO but some other name and scale) a year or so ago, it said my score was 98.5...only 1.5 away from being 100 percent perfect. Shouldn't that warrant a pretty decent rate?


RE: Call your credit card company

Hi just jumping in here, hope you don't mind. Does anyone know if you have any recourse with the cc companies on lowering your rate if you have any late payments. I tried to call mc and have my rate lowered, but they said that I was late once in a 6 month period and they couldn't do anything for me. Do I just have to wait out the next 6 mos and start again?

RE: Call your credit card company

The only recourse that I know of would be to transfer the balance to another card. In general, I have noted that by keeping a balance on my credit card, I also keep myself at the mercy of the companies whims. The card agreement probably gives them the right to raise the rate if there is a late payment, if one goes over the limit, etc. At the end of 6 months they may lower it or they may find a reason not to as well. The more I come to understand this, the more I want to hurry and pay the darn thing off.

RE: Call your credit card company

i called american express the other day, was going to cacel it (zero bal) and they lowered my rate. i would agree that its worth a call. may want to get your free credit reports first.

RE: Call your credit card company

Lots of cards offer cash rebates. DH has a citi card offering cash back for purchases at stores and for gas. I have a AAA visa and get $$ back every statement. Plus, the interest is only 7.9%.

Even if you only use it occasionally, it makes sense to get a card that does something for YOU. Get a rebate card!

RE: Call your credit card company

Forgive me for jumping in too. I'm curious, What interest rate amount did you have in mind to bring your card down to?

It sounds like you all are paying a terribly high amount and i don't understand why mine is so cheap. I've had mine since the early 80,s but surely thats not it. I have 3 cards, Discover at 8.9%(which i pay off every month except in emergencys).Mastercard(Union Plus)at 3.9% paying my car off.yes, i live on top of a mountain in
the Ozarks and have to have a 6 cylinder car. last a chase visa for medical bills at 2.9 and 3.9%. I've tried to get Discover card down and they wont budge. I can see why now. But i simply don't understand paying 18 or 22%. Thats robbery.

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