If you feel that you’re doing everything right to pay down your debt, but it seems to be getting you nowhere, there may still be a thing or two that you haven’t tried yet.
Undoubtedly, you know to make more than the minimum payment whenever possible and always pay your credit card bills on time. Paying the minimum when you can and not every month helps a little bit less than you need it to. That’s because the fees and interest rates alone are no match when you carry a credit card balance from month to month.
Unless you pay your debt off each month, those extra fees and interest rates will remain a huge problem, no matter how hard you try. Unfortunately, most households carry a credit card balance of at least $16,000. Depending on the terms of your agreement, those dollars can add up quickly, causing you to feel defeated.
Have you ever considered calling the credit card company to ask for changes to your terms and agreements — so that the terms work more in your favor than the credit card company’s? If you’ve ever thought about doing this but didn’t think you could, you certainly can. Even though 14 million Americans have over $10,000 in credit card debt, only one in five has ever asked about negotiating the terms of the agreement. If you ever wanted to take a stab at it yourself, read the four questions you can request that could save you money and help you pay your debt quicker.
How To Talk With Credit Card Companies
- Be Polite. When talking with credit card companies, the first thing to remember is to be polite. Politeness is the key to starting a great negotiation with a creditor.
- Be Firm. Being polite doesn’t mean you lack the firmness to stand your ground and make your case. Ask for what you want. And never be afraid to ask for a supervisor or the supervisor’s supervisor.
- Come Prepared. Do your research. Before you can talk about changing the terms of your agreement, you first have to know the terms of your agreement. Also, be familiar with what other credit card companies offer and be ready to respond to any of their objections.
- Take Detailed Notes. Take very detailed notes of any conversation you have with a creditor. Also, be sure to get the name or number of the agent you spoke with.
Get Everything in Writing. Should they make you promises, you want to ensure they keep them. So, if the two of you come to terms that you’re happy with, ask for it in writing. Nothing is final unless you see it in writing.
Questions To Ask Your Credit Card Company
1. Can my APR be lowered?
This may seem like a stupid question, but believe it or not, 78% of consumers who have asked this question in the past, had their APR lowered. Banks have been known to knock off about three percentage points to those who’ve successfully made the ask. It’s not an ask to take lightly. Before you ask, know what other credit card companies are offering you. You can do this by keeping all those credit card offers in the mail. This is one time holding on to those unwanted solicitations will be helpful. Use those offers to set the baseline for what your credit card company wants. If your current APR is 23%, but you have an offer that’s 18%, ask them if they can match it. Getting your APR dropped a few points, or more can significantly affect how much sooner your debt is paid off.
2. Can my late fee be waived?
Thinking this is another stupid question? Think again. 89% of consumers that asked this question received the response they wanted. Many credit card companies will waive the first late fee if you ask. And what’s more, having a good record of paying on time goes a long way toward your creditor cutting you some slack — every once in a while. But that will never happen for you if you don’t ask. Late fees can range from $10 to $49, so if you can keep money in your wallet, why not try?
3. Can my due date be changed?
If your due date is problematic for you and causes you to either be late paying your bill or lack the necessary funds needed to pay it, you may want to consider asking the credit card company to change your due date. Remember that doing this could also impact the balance you’re carrying. For instance, if you’re moving your due date from the top to the middle or the bottom of the month and carrying a balance, you’re also paying finance charges on those extra days your balance accrues interest during the first changed billing cycle.
4. Can I have better perks?
A credit card with perks is a good thing. Who wouldn’t want more? Since you’re on a roll in asking for what you want, it may not hurt to ask about better perks. You can come right out and ask the credit card company if they have any additional rewards to offer you. Or, you can ask for the perks you want. For instance, if you know you’ll be doing a lot of travel in the near future, why not ask about frequent flyer miles to help offset some of your future ticket costs and keep some money in your pocket?
The Bottom Line
For some, taking the initiative to negotiate with their credit card company can be intimidating. But it shouldn’t be. Your debt will follow you until it is no more. The only one who can control it is you. So, you have every right to try to do that, and in most cases, it starts with calling your credit card company and asking for what you want. If you’re a long-time customer and have been making timely payments, your asks will likely be in your favor.