One of the most depressing things about having credit card debt is the fact that the high interest rate can mean that most of your monthly payment (if you carry a balance) goes to paying interest, rather than reducing your principal. This can mean a long, slow slog as you try to pay off debt.
However, you might not have to keep paying that interest rate. In some cases it’s possible for you to reduce your credit card interest rate… just by asking.
Steps to Reduce Your Credit Card Interest Rate
Is your credit card interest rate 18% or higher? Call the number on the back of your card, tell them you have seen lower rates and chances are that you can get them to lower it. It’s not always that simple, of course, but it’s a start.
Call and ask to speak to someone about your interest rate. In some cases, representatives are allowed to drop your interest rate by as much as 3% in order to retain you as a customer. If the first representative can’t help you, ask for someone who can help you lower your interest rate.
Your best leverage during the is if you have a recent offer in the mail with a low introductory rate of 0%-5%. Many credit card issuers are willing to drop your rate if there is the chance that you will take all of your money elsewhere. They’d rather have you pay some interest than ditch them and pay no interest at all.
If you don’t have a recent offer, you could mention that you are considering the MBNA TrueLine MasterCard for 9.99%. This is the lowest rate I found with no annual fee. Anytime you can offer a concrete possibility for switching to someone else, you have a bit of leverage during the phone call.
If you have been paying your minimum payment on time and they consider you a good customer, they will likely be willing to work with you to negotiate a lower rate. If, even after you have mentioned that you will switch your business, and they still refuse to lower your rate, remain polite and make ready to transfer your balance.
Tips for Speaking with Representatives on the Phone
If you want to reduce your credit card interest rate, you will need to make sure that you have it together on the phone. Here are some tips for speaking with credit card companies:
- Be polite: Don’t get rude. Remain polite and calm throughout.
- Ask for what you want: Be straightforward about how you want a rate reduction. Be clear that is what you want, and ask the representative to connect you with someone who has the authority to make it happen.
- Be prepared: You can create a script, or jot down some talking points. Also, be prepared to carry through on your threat to transfer your balance elsewhere.
If you phone your credit card company and get your rate lowered, please leave a comment and let us know what your rate was and what it’s at now!