Do You Want A Lower Credit Card Interest Rate? Then Just Ask!
High Credit Card Rates Aren’t Fun
Ask anyone that is in debt and they’ll tell you—high interest rates are not fun. When it comes to credit cards, interest rates can be significantly higher than other forms of debt, such as mortgages or student loans. High interest rates mean that less money from your monthly payment is being applied to your principal balance. Your balance may not shrink much if you just make the minimum payment each month because of this high interest rate. Some cards have a 0% APR as an introductory period—but that is usually a perk for a short period of time to attract the most highly qualified consumers with excellent credit. For most consumers, high interest credit cards are a reality, and it can be difficult to save money or pay other bills if you are making huge interest payments on your credit card account. Fortunately, there may be ways to work with your credit card company to reduce the interest rates on your credit card. If you are interested in saving money and being able to take more control of your finances, here are some tips on how to lower your credit card’s interest rate.
You Have To Be Ready To Ask
One of the best ways of getting a lower rate of interest on your credit card is asking for one. That’s probably a lot simpler than you thought it was going to be. Issuers may not be as willing to lower your rate as they were before the economic downturn, but they still value your business. They realize they wouldn’t be in business at all without consumers using their services. Many companies are willing to work with customers who call them, especially cardholders with good or excellent credit scores. But issuers also realize that most people are not going to make that call. Studies have shown that a significant number of people that call in and ask for a lower interest rate do get some relief. In 2002, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group conducted a study where 50 consumers of various credit backgrounds called their credit card company and asked for a lower rate. 56% of those credit card customers got the lower rates that they were asking for. And the drop was significant—those consumers saw their credit card APRs go from an average of 16% to an average of 10.47%. That 5.53% drop is enormous, especially when we are talking about thousands of dollars of credit card debt. Those credit card customers saved real money, and all they did was call in and ask.
It might seem strange that credit card companies are sometimes willing to give away money when they lower someone’s interest rate. But credit card companies aren’t stupid—they realize that they are running a business. And there is very real competition. Someone who has a credit card and is denied an interest rate reduction can always cancel their credit card and sign up with a competitor. But again, you’ll have to remember that you won’t always get what you want the first time around. Think back to the study mentioned earlier. 56% of those participating in the study got interest rate reductions, but 44% did not. That 44% number is still substantial. If you ask for an interest rate reduction and don’t get one, don’t give up. You can still get the reduction that will improve your financial situation—you just have to be persistent. Instead of giving up, call again on another day. Or ask to speak to a manager or another customer service representative. You might find that some agents are more cooperative and helpful than others. Firmly remind your credit card company that you are considering moving on and signing up with another company if your interest rate reduction request isn’t granted. You might find that the tone of the agent suddenly changes, or you are transferred to another agent who focuses on retaining customers that are thinking of changing to another issuer. The biggest thing to remember is that you do have leverage in the situation, and credit card companies want your business.
Make The Request A Simple One
When asking for an interest rate reduction, remember that the simplest request is the most effective one. Some credit card companies may be willing to help, but they might not be able to carry out a complex request. You can make things easy by stating a simple request, such as “Can you guys help me out?” or “Can you guys do better?” Those simple requests put the onus on the credit card company to help you. By making a simple request, you have a better chance of cooperation and having your request granted. At the same time, there are credit card companies that aren’t going to give you the deal that you want. You are going to have to be prepared to walk away if all else fails.
If Your Credit Card Company Won’t Budge, Look For A Better Deal
If your credit card company isn’t willing to lower your interest rate, then remember—it’s their loss. As a consumer, you have the power to make the choice of where your money is going to be spent. Use that power to your advantage. You have to be willing to follow through with your contingency plans for your negotiation to be a strong one. So if your credit card company won’t budge, then you may need to find a company that is more responsive to your needs. If you do make a change, you probably won’t get all of your wants satisfied. But you may find a credit card company that is willing to go halfway and meet you on some points. Don’t let a high credit card interest rate hamper you. There may be issuers out there willing to give you a better deal.