Lower Credit-Card Rate? Just Ask

Unhappy with your credit-card interest rate? Wondering how to lower it? It might be easier than you think. Sometimes you only need to ask.

According to a study done by CreditCards.com, only 23 percent of credit-card holders have ever asked for a lower rate. Of those who did ask, two-thirds were approved.

And that’s not the only thing you can ask your credit-card company for. Although only 28 percent of cardholders who wanted a waiver for a late-payment fee dared to ask for it, of those who did ask, 90 percent were successful.

Apparently, there are certain parameters to being given a lower interest rate or a late-fee waiver. About 72 percent of those who asked for (and received) a lower rate had incomes of more than $75,000. Those with incomes between $50,000 and $74,999 received a lower rate 55 percent of the time.

When it came to getting a late-fee waived, the higher-income cardholders were successful 93 percent of the time. Those in the $30,000 to $49,999 range were successful 76 percent of the time.

What this tells us is that no matter your income, if you want a lower interest rate or a late fee waived, it doesn’t hurt to call and ask. Credit-card companies don’t check your credit every week to see if you’re worthy, but they will when you call. Establish a relationship and you’re more likely to get a “yes” when you ask for something, especially if you’ve been working to raise your credit score.

Other things to ask for when you’re on the phone with the credit-card company:

¥ A different due date each month. If your paycheck hits your account on the first of every month and the credit card payment is due on the fifth, you run the risk of being late each and every month. Ask for the due date to be pushed back to the 15th. It might take one or two cycles to get it on track.

¥ Are there any new programs? For example, if you’re with a major card company, it likely has a number of different cards, each with different benefits. Be careful and do the math, but if you’re offered a card with zero interest for a period of time if you do a cash advance to pay off another card, consider it.

 BY David Uffington

(c) 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.