Do you ever feel hopeless in the face of your credit card company?
From swift and expensive credit card fees to interest rates that can knock you over, it’s no surprise if you do. However, as a cardholder you actually have more influence than you think.
Here are four ways to reduce your credit card cost – just by asking.
4 ways to reduce your credit card cost
1. Reverse late fees
My husband is smart and responsible. But, man, can he forget to pay a credit card bill. Until he finally set up automatic payments, I would overhear far too many calls with him asking to reverse a late fee.
The funny part? It worked – most of the time.
Credit card companies know that late payments happen. The good news is as long as you’re not 30 days late, you might be able to get the credit card fees reversed. Call your issuer, explain that it was a mistake, and get that fee reversed.
Then sign up for automatic payments so you never have to worry about it again.
2. Get annual fees removed
You might think it’s impossible to get your annual credit card fee removed. After all, why would a credit card company do this? Well, they do it because they want to keep your business.
As long as your annual fee isn’t on a super premium credit card, your issuer may not have an issue with waiving it for the year.
In fact, a lot of new credit cards waive annual fees if you hit a certain spending requirement. Keep in mind, that doesn’t mean you have to carry a balance. Pay it off before interest hits and you won’t go into debt just to avoid a fee.
If the credit card issuer won’t remove your annual fee, consider switching to a no-fee credit card instead.
3. Lower your interest rate
Did you know you can ask your credit card issuer to lower your interest rate?
According to credit card expert Jason Steele, “Credit card issuers spend a tremendous amount to acquire and retain customers, and they don’t want to see them go.”
Use that to your advantage. I tried this once and was able to get my interest rate of 24 percent down to 11 percent. Not a bad outcome for a 45-minute phone call.
4. Switch to a balance transfer credit card
If your credit card issuer won’t lower your interest rate and you’re carrying a balance on that card, think about opening a balance transfer credit card. These cards come with a promotional interest rate that could last anywhere from six months up to two years.
This is a great tool for paying off debt, too. That’s because less you pay on interest, the more money you have going to your balance. What’s more, you’ll pay off debt even faster if you pay more than your minimum due.
If you still have debt when the promotional expiration date nears, consider getting another balance transfer credit card before it hits. Then you can avoid a retroactive charge on your balance at the new, higher rate.
Follow these negotiation tactics when making your case
Just because you can call your credit card issuer doesn’t mean you’ll get what you want. Follow these negotiation tactics to help the conversation go smoothly.
1. Be polite
You know the old saying, “You get more bees with honey”? Well, keep that in mind when you keep hearing the word “no” from your credit card company’s customer service representative.
Be polite. Appeal to their human side by acting like a friendly human yourself. Make them want to help you by treating them well over the phone.
You know how frustrated you get when a phone call lasts forever? Remember that the person on the other end of the line has to wrangle these calls all day long. Being nice can go a long way.
2. Never give a sob story
Some people think giving a sob story will get them results, but that’s rarely the case. Again, do you know how many of these stories they hear all day?
Don’t try to get them to sympathize with you. Instead, treat your request to cut your credit card cost down like you would negotiating a raise. Would you get a raise by telling your boss why you need the money? Or would you get it by showing your boss the results you’ve delivered?
3. Remind them of your history with them
A long, positive credit history is the best negotiation tool for the cardholder. Remind your credit card issuers how long you’ve been with them. Tell them why you’ve been a stellar customer.
Remember, credit card companies work hard to keep good customers happy. So don’t leave this powerful negotiation tool on the table.
4. Calmly explain that you’re thinking of canceling your card
Finally, show them you’re serious by calmly, politely stating that you’re thinking of canceling your credit card.
“Tell them you are considering canceling your card so that you can be transferred to the retentions department,” Steele explains. “This is where representatives have the most authority to waive your fee or offer you additional rewards in order to retain your business.”
That’s right, not only might you get your fees waived, you might even get some additional rewards.
5. Ask to speak to a supervisor
If you get a no, ask to speak to a supervisor. This is one that’s worked well for me in the past.
Usually, the first person you talk to (and maybe even the one after that) is not qualified to give you what you’re asking for.
But that can change as you move up the chain. So don’t take the first “no” for an answer.
Remember, they’re still offering you a service
It can be intimidating to call your credit card issuer, especially if you’re in credit card debt. At that point, credit cards almost seemed designed to keep you in a holding pattern.
However, don’t forget that credit card companies are a service and that you are an empowered consumer willing to take your business elsewhere.
If you’re afraid you don’t have a good enough credit score to be considered a valuable cardholder, follow these steps to improve your credit score. A year from now, you may be in a much better position to negotiate.
At the end of the day, this is your life and your money. Don’t accept whatever comes your way – fight for the outcome you really want.
Interested in a personal loan?Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
|Lender||APR Range||Loan Amount|
|1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.
3 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.
4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.
6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.
All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.95% to 35.89%*. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% of the original principal balance and is deducted from your loan proceeds. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at the time of application. The average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,025 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the www.lendingclub.com website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or be in the United States on a valid long term visa and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security number are required. Equal Housing Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. LendingClub’s physical address is: LendingClub, 71 Stevenson Street, Suite 1000, San Francisco, CA 94105.
†Per reviews collected and authenticated by Bazaarvoice in compliance with the Bazaarvoice Authentication Requirements, supported by anti-fraud technology and human analysis. All reviews can be reviewed at reviews.lendingclub.com
**Based on approximately 60% of borrowers who received offers through LendingClub’s marketing partners between January 1, 2018 to July 20,2018. The time it will take to fund your loan may vary.
7 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
8 Important Disclosures for Avant.
* The actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. Funds are generally deposited via ACH for delivery next business day if approved by 4:30pm CT Monday-Friday. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.
** Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33
* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.
Upgrade Bank Disclosures
** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.
|7.73% – 29.99%||$1,000 - $50,000|
|6.26% – 14.87%1||$5,000 - $100,000|
|6.99% – 35.97%*||$1,000 - $50,000|
|5.99% – 24.99%2||$5,000 - $35,000|
|4.99% – 29.99%3||$10,000 - $35,000|
|5.99% – 18.99%4||$5,000 - $50,000|
|15.49% – 34.49%5||$2,000 - $25,000|
|6.95% – 35.89%6||$1,000 - $40,000|
|6.99% – 18.24%7||$5,000 - $75,000|
|9.95% – 35.99%8||$2,000 - $35,000|