Credit Cards:  How to Ask for a Lower Credit Card Interest Rate

Is it still possible to call up your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card?  For many years now, we at bcsalliance.com have been urging consumers to do just that, but then the Great Recession of 2008 came along and banking profits dwindled as more and more consumers defaulted on their credit card payments, mortgage loans and such.  The major credit card companies closed or limited the accounts of many of their customers between 2008 and 2012, tightened their lending policies and adopted more stringent terms and conditions as a result of the Card Act.

But now, in the year 2013, with the economy showing signs of improvement and more credit card companies seeking customers again, is it once again possible for a consumer to call up their credit card bank and ask for and get a lower credit card interest rate?  The sad answer to that question is probably no.  But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.  If you call them up and ask for a lower credit card interest rate, all they can do is say no.  It is worth a few minutes of your time to try and get a lower credit card interest rate if you habitually carry a big balance on your credit card.  The credit card company rep might give you some canned response, such as "you are paying the rate that is offered to all customers in your area" or "unfortunately we cannot offer you another product at this time."  And odds are that is what you will here, but go ahead and try anyway, even though they will probably say no.

Before the Great Recession of 2008, research found that about 57 percent of those who simply telephoned their credit card company and asked for a lower interest rate got one instantly.  This rate was anywhere from 7 to 10 points lower than their current credit card interest rate. Getting a credit card interest rate lowered depends on various factors.  The credit card issuer is more willing to say "yes" if you meet most or all of the following conditions:

The credit card issuer is more willing to say "yes" if you meet most or all of the following conditions:

(1)  You have a good credit rating -- meaning no late pay notations on your credit report and a good credit score;
(2)  You do not have a high debt-to-income ratio and you do not carry a big balance on your credit card;
(3)  You do not send in just the minimum payment required each month.  If you don't owe the credit card company anything, you're even better off;
(4)  You have an excellent payment record with that particular creditor;
(5)  The credit card is not one that is categorized as "sub-prime", meaning it is not a secured credit card or one marketed exclusively to those with bad credit.  You can never get a lowered interest rate on a sub-prime credit card
(6)  You can easily qualify for a credit card somewhere else because you have no debt, an excellent credit score and owe the credit card nothing.

If you think you would qualify for a lower credit card interest rate, your first step is to do a bit of research and visit the websites of the largest credit card issuers listed below to compare various credit card offers before you telephone them.  Keep in mind that the interest rates credit card companies advertise prominently on their websites are reserved for those who earn a median to high income and have excellent credit --

www.bankofamerica.com                                      www.capitalone.com
www.discovercard.com                                         www.citibank.com
www.wellsfargo.com
www.americanexpress.com

When you call and ask for a lower credit card interest rate, your reasoning should be based on the argument that you deserve it because you're an excellent customer or you're getting better offers from other credit card banks. 

Sample Telephone Scripts When You Call a Credit Card Bank

Script 1:  I've visited the websites of several of your competitors, the ______ Bank and ______ Bank, and found that they are offering a _____ interest rate for new customers, which is _____ points lower than what I'm paying on my credit card.  Are you willing to give me that interest rate?

Script 2:  I am requesting that you reduce my current interest rate of 16.9% to 8.9% so that it is in line with what is available in the current market. I feel this is a fair rate since at least three major credit card issuers, _________, _________, and _________ are offering it to new customers like me who have an excellent credit rating. 

Script 3:   [Find out the current rate being offered at a credit card website and then lie and say] I have received a pre-approved offer in the mail from _______ Bank offering me a ____ interest rate card.  Can you beat or match that offer or do I have to transfer my balance to their credit card?

Script 4:  I visited your website and noticed that you are offering a ____ rate to attract new customers. I have been an excellent customer of yours for __ years and would like to receive the same rate being offered to new customers.

Script 5:  I was about to sign up for a new credit card at the _______ website and thought I would call you and ask for a lower rate before doing so.  If you don't give me that rate today I will transfer my balance from your card to theirs as soon as I hang up the phone.

Sample Letters and Emails to Send to a Credit Card Company Asking for a Lower Interest Rate

If a telephone call won't work, odds are that a letter or email won't work either.  We provide sample letters only because some people prefer sending a letter or email instead of phoning a credit card company.  Odds are high you will receive a canned response denying your request for a lower interest rate. 

Letter 1:  Threaten to Transfer Balance To Another Card
Letter 2:  Followup Letter When Phone Request For a Lower Rate is Denied
Letter 3:  Request They Match or Beat a Competitor's Offer

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