Back in February, I tried asking my three credit card companies nicely if they would lower my rates. I wrote and rehearsed the following spiel:
“Hi. Can you lower the interest rate on my card?”
[Wait for response, because why say more if you don’t have to? But if the answer is something other than yes, continue]
“I pay my bill on time, make a decent income, and have been a customer with you since 2003. But recently, I have been getting a lot of credit card offers for very low rates in the mail. I would like to keep using your card but the high rate makes that tough. Could you lower my rate?”
I spoke sheepishly at first, but the first company surprised me by lowering my rate by 1% (From 22% to 21%; hooray!). The second told me no, but the final company lowered my rate by a full 4%.
Turns out this idea is far from new. In this Bank Rate post (http://goo.gl/3toUf) they point to a survey conducted by U.S. Public Interest Research Group in March 2002 wherein 56 percent of consumers with varied credit backgrounds got lower rates by doing exactly what I did (Well, not exactly; their script is more threatening).
One more time, because this is important: more than half of Americans are leaving money on the table by not asking for lower credit card rates.
And so the lesson I took away was that It never hurts to ask.