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How To Lower Credit Card Rates On Your Current Debts

Updated on June 4, 2009

I found myself opening a credit card bill a few days ago and having to repeat a habit of mine. I was going to have to make a phone call to the credit card customer account services. When my credit card statement showed an increase of APR up to almost 21% I was flabbergasted. How ridiculous that the credit company would raise the credit card APR rate on a customer they've had almost 10 years and who has excellent payment history.

I was furious that my credit card rates on my Citi credit card had been raised for no reason. My mother said she had heard it was happening to many people including those with great credit. Ridiculous. How dare credit card companies try and punish their good clientele on the fault of those who default on their credit service terms. This is not how I allow people to do business with me. A phone call was in order.

Calling Credit Card Compaines

You can do two things when something comes your way that you are not happy with. You can whine and complain to friends and family at how ridiculous something is, or you can be pro-active. I choose the pro-active method more often then not. It seems to save me the most money.

An APR rate hike is considerably unfair if you maintain good relations with your credit card company. It may be justified if you default on your CC payments, but not if you make them consistently on time.

I called my credit card company right when I saw the statement. The first customer service representative informed me that the raise was do to the cost of doing business and that a notice had been sent months before informing me that my credit card rates would rise. Using my firm but polite voice told the lady that she and I knew fully well that the important documents get sort of lost in the flux of all the payment protection and balance transfer offers that all seem to come from them. They find themselves in the shred box. I was very clear with her that it was absolutely unfair to raise APR rates in such a manner on someone they should hold as a valued customer. I then asked her if the credit card company considered me to be a valued customer because after almost 10 years, being held as less would be enough to convince me to move my accounts.

She said that there may be something that could be done and transferred me to one of her collegues. I then repeated my unhappiness about the situation. The guy was determined to stick to his script of "I am sorry this has upset you ma'am". I once again explained that I felt I should be valued as a customer. Amazingly after some hassle he was able to magically find a way to apease me. He lowered my rates from 17.99% + the prime rate to 12.99% + the prime rate. Still higher then I would have liked, but 5% decrease is a considerable change.

How To Get Your Credit Card Rates Lowered

  • Speak with a firm but polite voice. Remember that the person on the other end of the phone did not cause your problems, but that they have the power to fix them, or get someone else on the phone who can fix them. The person who shows polite strength goes a lot further then rude bully.
  • Remind the person on the other phone why you should be considered a valued customer. You length of time as a customer, consistently making payments on time, etc.
  • Do not get off the phone just because one person told you no. If you were told no, ask if there is someone else you can speak with. Inform them that you are not going to be satisfied without some sort of progress towards what you are looking for. Even a temporary rate reduction is a start.
  • If no one is able to help you, then ask for retentions department. When you have them on the phone ask for your complete balance as it is today so that you can inform your next credit card company of how much to balance transfer. It is the job of retentions department to do whatever they can to keep customers. They often have the authority to make changes to your accounts that others do not.

If No One Will Help Then What?

I have had credit card companies in the past that would not help with anything I asked for. Once a good offer became available I went for a balance transfer. Sometimes, its really the only thing that can be done to get out of a bad situation. If you would like more information, go here to read about credit card balance transfers

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    • lctodd1947 profile image

      lctodd1947 

      8 years ago from USA

      Usefull information and this is what happens a lot of time without notice. I glad you had good results by asking; it is not that simple on the mortgage loan side. Simply asking will not get the rate changed on most loans. I don't use credit cards and have never asked for a lower rate but this is useful. Thanks for sharing.

    • mailxpress profile image

      Michelle Cesare 

      9 years ago from New York

      Hi,

      I had to call to request my credit card rates to be lowered. They all did it for me and I was very pleased. Very good advice.

      mailxpress

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 

      9 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      I generally tell them to lower it or I will pay it off or transfer the balance to an other credit cards I have.

      They usually will responde.

      Thanks for the info.

      Keep on Hubbing!

    • BristolBoy profile image

      BristolBoy 

      9 years ago from Bristol

      In the UK it is common for credit card companies to charge a very large amount of interest (eg more than 20%) even for long standing customers. However, there are many bonuses which credit card companies offer and many people take advantage of this. For example, in the UK many credit card companies give rewards at a percentage of the total amount spent on the card. This can often be 1% of the total amount spent on the bill in the form of supermarket vouchers. In addition, many card companies offer special introductory rates of 0% on balance transfers, and sometimes new purchases for new customers. As such many people are very clever and so periodically change credit card companies so that they never have to pay interest. Finally many people just use it as temprary credit, and pay the entire balance at the end of the month, leading to no interest being paid at all.

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