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How To Use Your Existing Credit Cards To Reduce Interest Payments

Aug 17, 2007
How would you like to pay 7 to 10 percentage points LESS in interest on your current credit cards? What do you think it would take to lower the APR on your favorite credit card by as much as 50%? Would you believe the answer to lowering the interest rates you're currently paying on your credit cards could be as simple as a single telephone call?

It's true. In a survey done recently, a major consumer agency had customers ring up their credit card company and ask to have their interest rates reduced. It worked - with one telephone call - an amazing 57% of the time. Why should your credit card company reduce your interest rates by as many as ten percentage points - just because you asked? There's one really good reason.

1. The interest rate that you pay is only one of the ways that your credit card company makes money. In fact, even if you never pay a cent of interest because you pay your balance off in full every month, they still make money from the transaction fees charged to the merchants from whom you buy. That being the case, they'll drop the interest rate to keep you around to make money for them.

That said, though, understand that there are things that will predispose your credit card issuer to saying yes when you ask for an interest reduction. You're more likely to get a positive answer if:

- Your account is in good standing with no history of late payments.
- You generally make more than the minimum payment every month.
- You usually carry a low balance on your credit cards.
- The particular card is not one of the sub-prime credit cards such as a secured credit card.
- The interest rate you're asking for is one that other credit card UK companies are offering as a standard.

In other words - the better your payment history with a particular creditor and overall, the higher the chance that the company will be willing to lower your interest rate. And of course, you want to approach the company in a way that lets them know that you're a good customer that they want to keep. Since even the best of us can get tongue-tied when making an important call, here's some information and approaches that you can use to get lower interest rates on your credit cards.

1. Research first. Check online comparison sites to find out the most competitive rates for the type of credit card that you hold. Be sure to check the current offers and the APRs on offer, but do keep in mind that the number listed online is generally the rate that's offered to the company's best customers with high income and spotless credit histories.
2. Be sure you're speaking with the right department. In most credit card UK companies, that will be customer service.
3. Be prepared to make a persuasive case for the issuing company to lower your interest rate. You can approach it from one of the following directions:
a. I just received a pre-approved offer for XYZ credit card company with xx APR. I've been a customer of yours for xxx years, and really have no desire to switch my loyalties, but I really can't pass up that interest rate. Can you match it? I'd really rather stay with this company.
b. I just noticed that you're offering xx APR for new customers. I've been with the company for a number of years and never missed or was late with a credit card payment. Are you willing to extend that advertised rate to a loyal customer like me?
c. I'm calling to ask you to reduce my APR from xx% to XX%. I've done some research and noticed that that's the rate offered by xyz credit cards and abc credit cards to new customers. I've been an excellent customer for years and hate to jump ship, but with the balance transfer offers and the lower APR I just can't justify staying without a lower interest rate.

That's all there is to it. If you think you'd qualify for a lower interest rate, it doesn't hurt to call and ask. The worst they can say is no - and you've got a better than even chance of getting a yes. Those are odds that can't be beat at any track.
About the Author
Jon Francis has been involved with finance for many years! With an in-depth knowledge of the credit card UK market help helps others get the best from a credit card.
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