Want a Lower Credit Card Rate? Just Ask For It

Want a Lower Credit Card Rate? Just Ask For It

High interest rates on credit cards are, for many of us, a mere fact of life. So while we chip away at our debt, we try to forget how that compound interest is affecting our wallets.

Turns out, however, that there's a rather simple way to help lower those rates—and most of us aren't taking advantage of it.

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According to a new survey by CreditCards.com, the trick is, simply, to call up and ask for what you want. Among the poll respondents, 65% of people who petitioned for a lower interest rate got one—yet only 23% were bold enough to ask. Success rates were even higher among consumers who wanted to waive a late payment fee, with a whopping 86% of consumers who asked for a fee waiver receiving it—even though just 28% of people made the request.

Before these stats embolden you to fight the interest rate on your latest bill, proceed with caution. Some companies will check your credit when you make your request—which could count as a hard inquiry and affect your credit score, said Melinda Opperman, senior vice president of community outreach at Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management Inc., in a press release. To avoid this issue, ask about the issuer’s policy before you officially make your request.

And keep in mind that not everyone has an equal chance of scoring a fee waiver or a lower interest rate. The survey also found that creditors tend to be partial to older consumers: 79% of 50- to 64-year-olds were approved for a lower interest rate, compared with just 33% of 18- to 29-year-olds.

Meanwhile, wealthier households also have a better chance of having their requests granted: 93% of households making at least $75,000 were granted late-fee waivers, compared with 55% of those making between $50,000 and $74,999.

Regardless of your age or your income, you can up your chances of success by preparing for your conversation with your credit card company. Start by checking out our complete guide to negotiating down your APR.

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