How To Get a Lower Interest Rate on Your Credit Card

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How To Get a Lower Interest Rate on Your Credit Card
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An oldie but goodie is back and it could save you money on your credit card payment.

Negotiate your interest rate down

So many of us who have a decent credit score are getting solicitations for new credit cards that are vastly superior to the cards we have now. Did you know you can turn that competition to your wallet’s advantage and maybe not even switch credit cards?

Years ago, the credit card business was so amped up with competition that you could call up your issuer and ask for a lower interest rate if you got a competing offer. To retain you, they would often equal or even go below the competing offer. Well, that’s happening again now.

But note this well: You need to have a competing offer in hand. Be sure to watch your mailbox. You shouldn’t just call up out of the blue not having done your research and expect them to accommodate you.  

With all the pre-approved credit card offers coming at you, you will save money if you use the marketplace to get a better deal. CreditCards.com says you have a 2 in 3 chance of this working when you call.

This is key for people who run balances. And if you’re in the 1 in 3 who get turned down, just take up the new offer. Don’t close the account, but do dump the company.

ARTICLE: Paying Off Credit Card Debt

How to have late pay fees waived

On another issue, years ago if you made a late pay and got a fee, you could call up the credit card company and get it waived based on your good history of on-time payments. (This wouldn’t have worked, of course, if you did not have a good track record of timely payments.)

Then during the last 7 years, that sort of thing came to a screeching halt. But now, conditions have reversed and what’s old is new again. Call up and almost always if you ask, you will get a waiver of that late fee — provided that you don’t have a history of late payments.

So if it’s a rare thing that you pay late and they want to charge you $35, call up and try your luck.

ARTICLE: How to Get Out of Debt Quickly in 5 Simple Steps

Advice for those who pay their bills in full

What about if you pay your bill in full every month? Here’s a key trend for you to know: As the full fare airlines merge into just three — American, United, and Delta — they have steadily hacked away at the benefits for their frequent flier programs. For those who fly high volume, these programs still work well. But for the other 95% of us, they don’t make sense.

That has opened a whole array of different reward cards coming into prominence again, with the hottest thing being cash back. Yet these cash back offers are moving away from the gimmicky things of old like 5% back on just 3 categories of purchases that rotate each month. You can forget those kinds of cards!

What really matters are cards that pay you a lot on every purchase you make. I’m seeing some with a cash-back cap of around 2%. Go to CreditCardTuneUp.com to determine the exact best card or combo of cards for your exact situation.

If you’re still interested in the mileage rewards, look at the Barclays Arrival World MasterCard (with an annual fee) that gives a very good reward ratio on redeeming credits for free tickets.

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Clark Howard About the author:
Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. More about Clark
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