Tips for Negotiating a Better Credit Card Rate

 (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

If you’re going to carry a credit card – and everyone should for emergency purposes – you should consider carrying one that has the lowest possible rate if you don’t plan on paying off the balance in full each month (and if you don’t or you worry that you won’t have the discipline, try applying for an AmEx card that requires you pay your balance in full each month). The lower your rate, the more money you save on balances your card carries. If you already have a credit card and think your rate could be lowered, don’t hesitate to call your credit card company and ask for your rate to be lowered. These tips will help.

Talk About Credit History

If you have a long history with the company, be sure and mention it when you’re on the phone with a representative asking to have your rate lowered. For example, by mentioning that over the past 10 years you’ve carried a low balance and/or paid off your card in full each month, never making a late payment, you might be able to convince your creditor to lower your rate without too much effort.

Mention Other Credit Cards

When you compare rates with other cards, you have a bit of negotiation power. For example, if you were offered a Visa with a 4 percent interest rate and you have a MasterCard with a 5 percent interest rate, call Visa and tell them. By letting them know you’re carrying the approval for a card with a lower rate and that if they don’t lower your rate to match or beat the competition you’ll be transferring your balance and cancelling your card, you have negotiating power.

Discuss Closing Your Credit Card Account

If you become desperate after mentioning all the above and trying to negotiate your way to a lower rate, simply tell the company you’d like to close your card. When you do this over the phone, they’re going to panic. They need your business; especially if you’ve been a valued customer. They’re going to work with you at this point. However, if they do not negotiate with you, do not close the account. Closing your account can actually lower your credit score since your available credit will then decrease.