Now, I am no expert, but having been a credit card user for 15 years and I have learned a trick or two. Josh and I have two credit cards and I make a note to call them every few months to see “what they can do for me.” ...and if you have credit cards...its a good idea for you to as well. So here is what I do...
All you need is some time and patience and you could usually score some graces. When I call I start by explaining to the person on the other line that times are tough...I mean they are for most people. I explain to them that paying this high interest rate or paying this high of a minimum payment is really straining my pocket book…I just had a baby, just lost a job, just moved, just had a deferment come due, just moved in my old in-laws, just sent my kid to college, blah blah whatever your issue is...ham it up.
Now...if you have been a credit card holder with the company and have paid on time the entire time, you are more likely to have them throw you a perk every now and then, if not you may have some trouble.
Let’s start with the easiest, late fees…. If you end up getting a late fee for some reason, always call. They will usually wave three late fees a year. So if it’s not common for you to pay late and it happens once in a while, always call, they will reverse it. Never accept a late fee!!
Next, the interest rates…Some credit card companies, like Wells Fargo and Chase re-evaluate their accounts every six months to see if they are able to lower interest rates…however other cards like Discover and Citi won’t. You have to call to have them look at your account to see if you are eligible for a lower rate. If you don’t call, they are most likely not going to lower your interest rate for no reason. I call every three months for this. Also, if you ever see an increase in the rate on your statement, always call. Complain that it is too high and you need them to do something about it. Never just accept it. They will usually lower it if they can. Just today I got a family members lowered 3%. It doesn't sound like a lot but it makes a big difference over time.
Third thing to try…As a courtesy, if you ask, credit card companies will credit some interest back to your account. Once you set up the call with your financial hardship speech (really milk it) and ask about interest rates…I always move on to asking if there is any way, as a courtesy, they will credit a few months of interest, saying I have been a loyal customer for a million years and always pay on time... Discover has done up to three months for family members, CitiBank one month for another and chase one month as well. They will do this every six months or so and if you have a high balance it could be a lot of money back on your card.
I try all of these things every time I call for myself or for other people. If the first person says “I can’t do anything for you” ALWAYS ask for a manager or someone above them! Some will push you to the ‘hardship department’ try and avoid that…continue to ask them why they can’t help you out with these things. If they or a manager is not willing to help, hang up and call back and get a different person. Some people are more willing to do whatever they can and some are not. After the second call if no one will help you I usually give up and try back in a few weeks. Very rarely have I called and not gotten something from them...whether it was interest credited back, a lower minimum payment or a lower interest rate...I usually make out pretty good. Good Luck!