Negotiating a Better Credit Card Rate
Negotiating a Lower Rate
Believe it or not, sticking with a card you already have — and negotiating a lower interest rate on that card — is always better than getting a new card with a lower rate. You can’t run from your credit balance, and every time you open a new card, the inquiry into your credit history can ding your credit score, which in turn leads to higher interest rates. There’s that vicious cycle again.
Here are a number of negotiating tactics that can help you score a lower rate on your existing card:
Do your homework. Shop around and see if you can find better deals with competing credit card companies. Use this information as negotiation leverage. After all, the credit card company wants your business, so they’ll often agree to a rate that matches (or at least approaches) one offered by their competitors.
Start with your oldest card first. Loyalty pays. Companies are more eager to work with long-time customers, and it always helps to be able to say, “I’ve been a loyal member of XYZ bank since…”
Simply call and ask. There’s probably a customer service number on the back of your credit card. Most people ignore this unless they find themselves in a really sticky situation, but customer service is there for a reason. Arm yourself with competitors’ information, know what you’re asking for, and simply make the call. It can’t hurt to ask, right? It seems too simple, and that’s why so few people actually take the initiative to do it.
Be persistent. If at first you don’t succeed, bother them until you do. Okay, don’t bother them — your goal is to be rational and pleasant. But persistence is key. If you’re told “no,” ask if you can speak with a manager. Keep trying until you are connected with a representative who is willing to work with you. This doesn’t mean calling every day, but there’s nothing wrong with scattering several phone calls throughout a few months. By doing so you’ll be on their radar, but hopefully not on their blacklist.
Be polite. This should go without saying, but customer service representatives are people, too. They listen to complaints all day long, and a genuinely friendly caller actually stands out from the crowd. After all, as the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.