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10/24/07

How to Negotiate Credit Card Interest Rates

Only two circumstances exist in which you can successfully negotiate to reduce your credit card interest rate: (1) when you account is in good standing; and (2) when your account is so badly defaulted that your only way out is bankruptcy. Hopefully your situation is the former and not the latter.

First, if your account is in good standing, you will have a better bargaining chip than you would have if your account is in severe default. In order for you to strengthen your bargaining position, make sure you have an offer from another credit card company. You do not have to apply for the other card, you only need to be able to qualify for the card and the card must have a lower interest rate than your current card. You can get this other credit card offer very easily. You can find this other offer by looking on-line, checking your “junk” mail, or going to your local bank and grabbing an application.

If your account is in good standing, give your credit card company a call. Do not be secretive or discreet about your reason for calling. Tell the card representative that you are calling because another company has offered you a better interest rate. Continue by telling the representative that you are happy with their card and you want to know if they can match the lower interest offer. At first, the representative may tell you that it is not possible or that he/she does not have the authority to authorize such a request. At this point, ask to talk to a supervisor/manager.

Tell the supervisor/manager the same line you told the representative. If the supervisor/manager seems reluctant, express you disappointment in a stern yet polite way. Yelling or getting abusive will not help your situation. It may take a few minutes but you should be able to work something out.

The problem that exists is that you do not want to close your account. Closing your account could negatively affect your credit score. The credit card company knows this, therefore, they will be reluctant at first. However, customer retention is important for credit card companies, therefore, they will work with you.

Be polite yet stern and present the situation intelligently. Make sure you have another offer for which you qualify. Doing all of these things will increase your bargaining strength and will help you succeed in your purpose.

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