One of the easiest ways to lower your financial stress and get a better grip on your budget is to start paying lower interest rates on your credit cards. The average annual percentage rate, or APR, on credit cards in this country is 18.9%, but a lot of people are paying much less than that. If you can get your interest rates down, it can have a substantial effect on the amount of debt you owe and how long it will take you to get that amount down to zero.
So how do you go about getting lower interest rates on your cards? The easiest thing to do is ask. Call the number on the back of your card and say you need a lower interest rate. Most companies will say no, straight off the bat. This is a situation in which “no” doesn’t always mean “no”. Tell them why you need the lower rate. Tell them about the lower offer you just got from American Express or Visa or Discover. Give them the specific details of the offer you’ve been presented by the other company. Tell them you’re thinking of transferring your balances. Ask them what they can offer you.
If the representative still says no, ask to speak to a supervisor. Remain calm and professional and explain the situation to him or her. Often the supervisor will have more room to negotiate than the first representative you spoke to did. See if they can offer you anything. If there’s still nothing they can do and you will accept nothing less than a lower interest rate, ask who you need to speak with in order to close your account. Almost all major companies, including your phone, internet, and cable providers, have specific retention departments whose representatives have a whole host of tricks up their sleeves to stop you from leaving. They may offer you something better than you were hoping for.
Some card companies have a reputation for refusing to budge on their interest rates. Try not to get too upset about this. You agreed to pay what they were offering at some point, and they have the right to charge what they want to charge. If your credit card issuer simply won’t come down in interest rates, you have a few choices. You can transfer the balance to a lower rate card if you’re getting offers. You can make this card the highest priority to pay off and close your account. You could try calling back and speaking to someone new, although that trick doesn’t work as well anymore now that companies note your account with the details of every contact you make.
The only time it wouldn’t make sense to ask for a lower rate is if you know they’ll run a credit check and your credit is in a precarious enough situation that the inquiry into your report will do more harm than good. This is not a situation that will apply to many people, though, because if your credit is that bad, you’re probably not in good standing with your credit card companies anyway. You may want to work with a professional credit repair company, like Sky Blue Credit Repair (read the review first), first to give yourself the best possible chance of securing the best interest rate you can.
There’s really nothing to lose and potentially thousands of dollars to gain. Give your credit card company a call and see what happens.