Don’t settle for high interest rates and ridiculous annual fees on your credit cards. Credit card companies don’t want you to know this, but you do have the power to negotiate lower rates with the right strategy. Learning how to negotiate is a win-win: it’s a useful skill in any financial transaction, and being able to lower your APR or eliminate your annual fee on your credit card is a great way to save money.
Here are the steps to negotiating better credit card rates:
Come prepared with other credit card offers. If you’ve been offered a credit card in the mail or online with a lower APR or a 0% introductory offer, use those offers to your advantage to negotiate a better rate with your existing credit card company.
Know your credit history and use your credit card history. Your credit score will determine what type of APR you’ll qualify for. If you haven’t pulled your credit report for a few months or you don’t know what your credit score is, now is a good time to do so before you call and ask for a lower rate. A mistake on your credit history could be damaging your score and could squash your chances of getting a better deal. And when it comes to using your credit card history to your advantage, the longer you’ve been with a particular credit card companies, the better your chances of negotiating a good deal. Be sure to mention your good standing when you speak to someone.
Speak to someone in the customer retention department and play your cards. Someone working in this department has only one job: to make sure that you remain a customer. Be polite and firm in your tone with the representative, share any other offers that you have from competing credit card companies, explain that you’re considering switching to a different credit card company and ask if they would be willing to consider lowering your APR or waiving your annual fee.
Call back later and be prepared to walk away. If you don’t have any luck the first time you call, try calling back in a week and try your luck with another customer representative. Finally, if all else fails, be prepared to call their bluff and walk away.