negotiate with your credit card issuer

How to Negotiate with Your Credit Card Issuer


30 September,2013

Do you wish you had a lower interest rate on your credit card? What if you don’t want to pay an annual fee? Just because the credit card issuer says that something is part of the terms doesn’t mean that it has to be for you.

A couple of years ago, I was able to successfully convince my credit card issuer to waive its new annual fee on my behalf. I’ve also been able to enjoy a lower interest rate, just for asking. If you want better credit card terms, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Here’s how:

Make Sure You’re a Good Customer

First of all, make sure that you’re a good customer. Do you make your payments on time and in full? Are you making money for the credit card issuer?

Unfortunately, you’re not a “good” customer if you rarely use your credit card. In order to be considered a “good” credit card customer, you need to carry a balance on your card from month to month, or you need to spend enough on the card each month that the interchange fees the issuer collects are worth it.

If you use the card regularly, you might charge enough (even if you pay off the card each month) that the interchange fees offset the annual fee that the issuer waives for you. And, of course, if you regularly carry a balance, it’s worth it for an issuer to drop your interest rate 2% or 3% if it keeps you as a customer.

Ask for a Manger or Supervisor

You need to make sure that you talk to someone who can actually help you. Some credit card issuers authorize representatives to drop your interest rate 2%, just for the asking. Others, though, require that you speak to someone higher on the totem pole.

When you call, clearly state your purpose. Say you want to talk about lowering your interest rate, or you want to talk to someone about waiving your annual fee or some other fee. In many cases, the representative can put you through to someone who can help.

Be Prepared to Close Your Account

You will get best results if you are prepared to close your account. If you don’t carry a balance, and you don’t use your credit card much, though, this threat isn’t going to carry much weight. If the issuer isn’t making money off you, it doesn’t matter if you close your account.

However, if you have a couple thousand dollars on your card, and you have the means to pay it off right then and close the account, you are in a better bargaining position. Be careful, though: If you make this threat, you have to be prepared to carry it out immediately.

Be Polite

Finally, be polite. Rudeness won’t help your cause at all. Be calm, and be clear about what you expect. You might not get a huge interest rate deduction, but you should be able to get something. But once you start yelling, or lose your cool, you have less of a chance of getting what you want.