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How to Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate

When it comes to pulling the wool over customers’ eyes, banks issuing credit cards are the pros. And one of their favorite ways to trick you is to raise your credit card interest rate.

Although new credit card laws make it more difficult for the banks to do it, don’t think you’re immune to a rate jacking.

It’s best to never carry a balance on your credit card and, therefore, never pay interest. But if you do, and you have good credit, there is no reason you should be paying a high interest rate on your credit card balance.

Many times, credit card companies will lower your interest rate if you just pick up the phone and ask them to do so. Why will they do this? Because the credit card business is competitive, and your card issuer knows that smart customers could leave them at any minute. If your current credit card company wants to keep your business, they will be happy to work with you to lower your interest rate.

Before doing battle with your credit card bank, there are a few things you should do to ensure you come out on the best end of the conversation:

1. Have your information ready. Before you make the call, make sure that you have your account number, payment history, and any previous correspondence information in front of you. Be prepared for the operator to give you reasons why they can’t lower your rate (for example, a past late payment).

2. Be persistent. If a representative denies your request at first, be prepared to try again. After all, you’ll likely get a different customer service rep! They will probably have the record of your recent attempt on their computer screen, but it will show them you’re not going to give up without a fight. If you’re still not getting anywhere, don’t be afraid to use the old “let me speak with your supervisor” line!

3. Be prepared to get tough! Exit strategy is important. If you plan on leveraging your position by threatening to take your business away, make sure you are prepared to follow through. If your credit is good enough to ask for a lower APR, it may be good enough to have a 0% APR transfer rate from another credit card company.

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Be ready to walk away if you have to. Part of doing business with a company is being able to openly communicate and being satisfied with the service they provide. If you are unhappy with your service and the company, then take your business elsewhere.

For the first time in a couple of years, credit card companies want new business. That means many leading credit cards have 0% intro APRs and some even offer sign up bonuses of $50-$75 after you make a certain amount of purchases.

Published or updated on September 2, 2010

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  1. Ryan says:

    No matter what representatives tell you, you can always find a way to improve your interest rate. If you do not get the credit rate that you desire, simply call back and talk to a different representative or credit analysis. These people are HUMAN and are allowed some autonomy within a system of guidelines. You may get someone who overlooks something that may prevent your interest rate from being able to be decreasedd. Do not overlook the simple yet important ideas that:

    In the morning, customer service representatives are not yet exhausted from listening to customers, so this may be a better time to call.

    Representatives get lunch breaks, so they may be less likely to expend a lot of energy for your request if you call right before they are relieved or leave work at the end of the day. Be cognizant of the representative’s location and time zone. Start the conversation off on a friendly note by greeting them by their name, and ask what part of the country they are from.

    They are likely underpaid and under appreciated by their company.

    They gain bonuses and advancements within the company through positive customer feedback.

    For the simple fact that you may get someone that overlooks something that prevents your interest rate from being decreased, Call, Call, and Call again! Do not discount the simplicity of the Human Factor. No two calls will ever be the same. You will always be talking to a different human being who is in a different mood then when they were in yesterday (that is simply human nature).

    Along the same lines, make the phone call a social event. Be the person that changes the representative’s day up and makes it more enjoyable. Their job is very repetitive, and it would be very refreshing if they encountered a social conversation. If you need a representative to work on you behalf, you should consider the seemingly simple ideas that we have just shared in order to make them want to help you.

  2. Honey says:

    This seems like the advice that worked 3 years ago, but not anymore. 0% offers are very rare, and it seems like the kind of person who has a very high rate would not be getting them.

    • David Weliver says:

      To some extent, you’re right Honey…if your card raised your rate on you because you’re a higher risk customer, you’ll def. have a harder time getting a new card.

      But in the last few months, 0% offers have come back. Discover, Chase, and Citi all have cards with 0% intro APRs for 6, 12, even 15 months.

      It may be harder to get a lower rate than it was 3-4 years ago, but IMO it’s still possible.

      • Honey says:

        I’m fortunate because I have paid off everything except the last $1500 or so, and that card has a fixed 7.9% rate, so after the balance transfer fee it’s not really worth it, since I’ll have it paid off before the end of the year.

        The highest rate I’ve EVER HAD on a card is 8%, I think.

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