Your credit card interest rate isn’t set in stone. With the right strategy, you might be able to lower your rate with your card issuer. Keep reading to find out the steps you should take when negotiating and what to do if you’re turned down.
5 steps for negotiating your interest rate
Here are 5 steps you can take to lower your interest rate:
1. Figure out which card you want to negotiate
Take time to look at your cards. Knowing your numbers will help you better evaluate the offers your card company might give you. Try to understand things like:
- The current interest rate of each card
- Any outstanding balances
- The minimum you pay monthly
Once you’ve gathered this information, see which card you’d like to negotiate. Is it the one with the largest balance? Or maybe the highest interest rate? See which card will have the biggest financial impact with a lower interest rate.
Next, strategize about what you’ll say when you speak to your issuer. It’s usually most helpful if you have a reason why they should lower your rate, such as a competing offer from another card company. While on the call, mention the reasons why your card company should keep you as a customer, like the fact that you’ve been a longtime customer or that you always pay on time.
3. Call your card issuer
It’s time to call your card company. Be polite and respectful—you’re more likely to have success if you’re nice to the representative than if you sound angry or frustrated.
If the representative agrees to lower your interest rate, congratulations! However, you shouldn’t take a lower interest rate to mean you can spend more money. Take this opportunity to try and improve your spending habits and pay off your outstanding balances.
5. Or try again
If your request was declined, don’t despair. Here are a few things you can do:
- Find out why you were denied a lower interest rate: Was it a low credit score? The fact that your account isn’t old enough? Try to get more information so you can take steps to help yourself get approved in the future.
- Try negotiating fees: If you can’t negotiate your interest rate, try negotiating your credit card fees instead. You might get approved and still save money overall.
- Try again later: Try calling again in a few months. Your credit score might improve, or a different representative might approve your request.
Look into credit card consolidation instead
If you don’t get approved for a lower interest rate, you may want to consolidate your credit card debt instead. One popular way to do this is with a debt consolidation loan, which helps you pay off your debts and simplifies your repayment into one monthly payment with a lower interest rate. Another consolidation method is a balance transfer, which lets you move your debt from multiple cards to a new credit card with 0% APR. Note that balance transfers often require a fee, but paying less or zero interest for a promotional period can cancel out the cost.