Anyone would jump at a credit card with zero percent introductory interest rate. It’s just natural. Not having to pay any interest for the first three months or so sounds really cool, you know? And most of the time, you are so eager to get the card that you forget to think about what happens afterwards.
Then when the zero interest rate expires, the problem starts. You are stuck with an interest rate of 15, 20, or 25 percent, or even higher. And most of your hard earned money starts going into payment of interest.
Whether you got trapped after being sucked in by a mouth-watering intro offer, or your interest rates skyrocket due to other reasons, you will always have the same problem: falling behind on your payments due to the crippling interest rates. And if you are not able to quickly work your way out of the quicksand, you can keep wallowing in it for years.
High interest rate is the main reason why most well-intended people are barely able to cover their minimum payments. And their interest rates are high because they are only able to make minimum payments. It’s a vicious cycle.
Fortunately, there is a way you can break out of the quicksand of debt. And it’s not as difficult as you might think. Read on to find out how you can easily reduce those interest rates that are making your financial life miserable.
3 Great Ways to Get Lower Interest Rate on Credit Cards
1. Find out if you stand a chance
It is important that you bear in mind that you can only ask your credit card company for an interest reduction if you have a substantial amount of debt on your credit cards and have largely been able to make up your payments up to this point. It’s all right, though, if you have a few late payments.
Also, if you are not carrying a balance on your card or don’t carry a balance regularly, your credit card company won’t be interested in helping you because you are not putting money into their coffers as a customer.
Your chances of getting a reduction in your interest rates also depend on your current interest rate. If your current interest rate is already around the lowest you can get from the company (say, 6.99 percent), the company won’t lower that any further. But you are likely to get a reduction if your interest rate is anything above 15 percent. If, after analyzing your chances, you think you stand a chance of having your interest rate reduced, then go ahead with the following measures.
2. Prepare to call your credit card company
Due to your situation, you might be so eager to bring out your credit card and dial the issuer’s number on the back. But it’s recommended that you prepare a bit in advance, as this will boost your chances of having your rates reduced.
First, have a copy of your most recent statement with you. Make sure you know what exactly your current interest rate is. Memorize your account number or have it where you can easily read it out. And check the phone number on your account statement against the one at the back of your card. If both numbers are different, call the one in your statement, since it’s more recent.
Next, check your mailbox or recent letters for any recent credit card offers that come with zero interest or low interest balance transfer. You can also log on to your online access to see what offers are available for you. Get a quote on a personal loan from your local credit union’s website. You will use all these as leverage to have your interest rate reduced.
Also, have a predefined rate to shoot for. You can shoot for 9.9 percent, but you are not likely to get a rate that low. The rule here is to check your current interest rate and then set a realistic target. For example, if your current interest rate is 17 percent, you can have that reduced to 12 to 14 percent. But trying to bring it down to 10 percent will most likely not work out.
3. Make the call
Dial the phone number of your credit card company. Once your call is answered, request to speak with someone that actually is in a position to change your interest rate. You don’t want to waste your time explaining your problems to a customer care rep, who lacks the authority to help you out.
Be straight about your request. As soon as you can after someone picks your call, say something like, “I want to speak with someone who has the authority to change my interest rate. Do you have such authority?” If you get a “no” answer, then ask, “May I speak to someone who can? Thank you!”
Once you are linked up with someone who is in a good position to reduce your interest rates, present your case clearly and succinctly. Tell them how you have been finding it hard to keep up with their interest rates. (Don’t sound like a drowning man who desperately needs help, though). Tell them it would be convenient for you to keep the balance on the card, but you have some other mouth-watering offers that could really save you money—mention the zero interest offers you found in your mailbox or email. Then politely ask for a reduction.
Most likely, you will have a reduction in your interest rate—but it may not be down to what you really want. Whether you get a reduction you are happy about or not, say “thank you” after the call. And if you don’t get any reduction, don’t get angry.