Have you struggled with fees on your credit card? Maybe your limit is too low for your most important credit use case? You can probably get a lower interest rate, a higher credit limit, or waived fees from your credit card company, but only if you ask. For real though, it never hurts to ask. In fact, if you don’t you could be leaving money on the table. Here’s how to negotiate with your creditors from the pros who are in the know:
Tips for Negotiation Success
Longtime customers with great credit scores have the best shot at lower rates
If you’ve been a loyal customer to your credit issuer, with few, if any, hiccups along the way, and you have a credit score to match, you’re in an ideal position to negotiate. Most credit issuers are likely to bend a little bit to keep you happy. Don’t throw in the towel if your credit history is less than perfect. Use this list to determine if you should try to negotiate:
- You pay on time most of the time.
- You’re a longtime customer.
- You’ve increased your credit score in recent years.
- You’re a credit spender.
If you answered yes to all, or most, of these questions, give your creditor a call or check the website for negotiation options.
Go digital to get your lower rate request faster and easier
More and more often, banks and other financial institutions are wanting customers to interact with them on the customer’s own turf, online. Before you pick up the phone to ring customer care, see if you can negotiate your rates online. Online management of your credit card is the gold standard right now, and it’s only going to evolve as we move into future engagements with creditors. This is particularly good for people with social anxiety who might not be super comfortable taking a strong negotiating position on the phone.
Negotiate from a strong position by shopping around before calling
If you want creditors to work with you, one way to do it is to let them know you’ve been shopping around. It also helps you because you are going into the conversation with a better idea of what average expectations should be for a credit card issuer and a consumer. Perhaps by doing some window shopping of other credit cards you’ve noticed many offer a lower APR than you are receiving, or don’t have so many fees, mentioning this to your issuer is a good power play to use. In addition to knowing what the competition is doing, it may go without saying, but read your own card’s terms and conditions so you can compare.
Be polite to keep your file free from red flags
There’s an old adage that you “catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” and it really should go without saying. If you’re speaking to someone from behind a telephone receiver or chat window, be polite. If you come in with a strong negotiating position, as recommended in the article, there’s no reason to lose your cool. You’re likely to progress change further if you’re nice, so be kind and remember the customer service reps are just trying to do their job.
Final Thoughts on Negotiating Your Credit Terms
If you’ve never considered the possibility of negotiating a better rate, it’s time to start! If you don’t negotiate you could be setting yourself up for fees and limits that are hard to manage. Your credit score and overall credit health are really important. If you have a credit card, getting the best rates could give your wallet some more padding. What are you waiting for?