No one likes to call the credit card company. You can always think of 101 other things you’d rather be doing on a Wednesday afternoon.
Listening to that annoying voice system asking you to “Press one” for the umpteenth time can be irritating, but a few minutes on the phone with your credit card company can prove to be quite profitable.
It doesn’t matter which type of card you’ll be contacting (i.e. MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). Most credit card companies work somewhat the same way.
If your credit card balances seem anything but manageable, it may be time to give your credit card company a quick phone call.
What should you ask when you call? Start with these five questions:
1. Can you waive the annual fee?
With the variety of cards and services available today, there’s no reason why you should be subjected to an annual fee for your credit card. If you’re still being charged an annual fee, begin by asking if it can be removed. If the customer service agent will not remove it permanently from your account, simply ask if it can be removed for the current year. You can deal with next year’s fee at that time if the company wants to charge you one.
2. Will you lower my interest rate?
One of the biggest savings to your wallet can be a reduction in your annual percentage rate (APR). Even lowering your rate by a few percentage points allows more of your payment to go directly to your balance, allowing you to pay off your card more quickly. Reducing your rate from 10.99% to 8.99% on a revolving balance of $10,000 could save you over $100 in interest charges per year. If you’ve received a credit card offer in the mail recently, tell the card representative about your offer. For instance, you could say, “I received an offer in my mail yesterday for a card with a fixed rate of 8.99% APR. Can you match that rate?”.
3. If you’re giving me a promotional rate, when does it expire?
If the offer the representative gives you is a promotional rate, don’t forget to ask when it expires. If there’s an expiration date, write the date on your calendar. Note it on your computer. Post it to your refrigerator. Just don’t forget it. If you still have a balance on that date, you’ll want to see what your new rate will be, and if you should choose another option when your promotion expires.
4. Can you change my payment due date?
Sometimes the date your payment is due can really cause a strain on your checkbook. If your payment date falls on the same day your mortgage payment is due, it may cause havoc with your budget. If moving the due date to a different day of the month will make more sense to your budget, simply ask the credit card company to change the date. Many companies can due this with just a few key strokes on the computer.
5. If I transfer balances from another card, will you give me a promotional rate or card perks?
Many people have more than one card, with several different balances. Ask your card company if they can give you a better rate if you combine one or two of your other cards by doing a balance transfer. Many companies have promotional APR offers available for balance transfers. If your card has “perks,” such as airline miles, college tuition, or rewards points, be sure to ask if those apply for balance transfers. Transferring a balance from another card may not only save you money, but may result in free airline miles as well.
When you contact the card company, remember a few simple rules. Be pleasant. (You’re more likely to get the rate you want if you develop a rapport with your representative.) Be confident. Know what you’re going to say before you call. And, lastly, just come right out and ask for what you want. Even if the answer is “no,” you’ll never know unless you ask.