In times past, all it took to get an interest rate cut on a credit card was asking for one. But no longer. Today when you call to ask for an interest rate reduction on your credit card, the representative on the other end of the phone call will likely have been trained to listen for clues about your financial condition. He or she will then quickly evaluate the risk involved with giving up those interest dollars. Innocently mention a layoff or financial struggles and you can kiss that interest rate reduction goodbye.
By sticking to a planned and rehearsed script, you’ll avoid those pitfalls and you’ll also avoid setting off alarms with your card issuer.
Your first step is to know what your interest rate actually is
Begin by laying out all your cards on the table along with the most recent statement. Circle your interest rate and the company’s customer service phone number and then re-arrange those statements with the highest interest rate card on top. Write down how long you’ve had the card and note whether your rate is fixed or variable.
Then pick up the phone and get started.
After you give the necessary information so a customer service representative will speak with you about your account, launch into your script:
You: I’m considering an offer I’ve received from another bank for [X] percent but before I sign up, I thought I’d give you a chance to match it since I’ve been with you for [X] years.
Chances are good that the rep will say he or she isn’t allowed to arbitrarily lower your interest rate.
You: Look, this other offer is so much better than what you’re giving me. You and I both know that when I transfer my balance, within 2 weeks you’ll send me an offer to come back at an even lower rate. Why not save yourself the trouble and lower my rate today?
If the rep says no because your card is at a fixed rate …
You: That really doesn’t have anything to do with whether you have the ability to lower my rate. All a “fixed” rate means is that it doesn’t vary with changes in the prime rate. You can increase my rate – with the proper amount of notice – and you can lower it at any time.
If the rep continues to claim that he or she isn’t authorized to lower your rate …
You: I’d like to speak with a supervisor.
Then go through the script again. Even if you get a cut from the first rep, speak with the supervisor to see if you can get an even better deal. Many times the front line representatives are only authorized to cut a rate a few points but supervisors may be able to cut it much more. You may have to INSIST on speaking with the supervisor because many reps will claim their supervisor doesn’t have the authority to lower your rate either. That simply isn’t true. Someone, somewhere within that company can lower your rate. You just have to speak with them.
As always, keep a record of each person you speak with. If that promised rate cut doesn’t show up, you’ll need a paper trail to fall back on.
If you’re still denied an interest rate cut:
- Transfer your balance. Check into other cards like Discover® More® Card.
- Threaten to close your account. Yeah, it might ding your credit score, but if the rep believes you will, and you’ve been a profitable and loyal customer, you may have a better chance of getting that rate cut.
One caveat – if you haven’t been a profitable customer (that is, you pay off your balance in full each month or you rarely use the card), don’t expect anything. But then again, that type of customer doesn’t really need a rate cut, do they?