[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners here — PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card and Chase Slate. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Credit card interest can be brutal. As unsecured debts, credit cards carry interest rates that are typically higher than those of home mortgages or student loans. Further, credit card interest is not tax-deductible, unlike the interest paid on some home mortgages and student loans.
So wouldn’t it be nice if you could simply ask your card issuer to lower your interest rate?
Can You Do That?
You can always ask your card issuer to lower your interest rate, but how likely is it to work?
First, it helps to know what the terms and conditions of your card are now. In many cases, credit cards are offered with a range of possible interest rates, depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder at the time of the application. For instance, the Wells Fargo Cash Back card offers an annual percentage rate of 12.15% to 25.99%, which is quite a spread. On the other hand, some cards offer just one interest rate for all cardholders. In the case of the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa, that rate is 9.99% APR for all cardholders, and a lower rate simply isn’t offered for that product.
Next, you will want to ask yourself if your credit has actually improved since you applied for your card, since that is what will guide their decision. For example, if you have continued to make on-time payments and lowered your debt, you may be more creditworthy than you were when you applied. But if you have missed an occasional payment, increased your debt, or have had other negative marks on your credit report, it is unlikely that your request for a lower interest rate will be granted. If you want to see where your credit currently stands, or to track your progress as you work on rebuilding your credit, the Credit Report Card is a free tool that updates your credit scores monthly.
Finally, you will want to see how much time has gone by since you were issued the card. It is unlikely that a card issuer will lower an interest rate on an account that is less than six months old, but it could happen.
How to Ask for a Lower Interest Rate
Asking for a lower interest rate starts by calling the bank or credit union that issued your card and simply asking. In many cases, that is all that is needed to have your rate re-assessed and lowered.
If initially denied, there are a few tactics that might change the answer. First, you could ask to speak with a supervisor about your account. In most cases, call center supervisors have broader discretion than the first line agents. Next, you might mention that you have been offered a better rate from another card issuer and are considering taking your business elsewhere. Upon hearing this, your call might be transferred to their retentions department, which makes it a priority to keep existing customers. Finally, it may help to politely end the call and try again later.
If Your Request Is Denied…
Just because you didn’t receive a lower interest rate for the card you have, doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a lower rate. If you have already indicated that you were willing to bring your business to another card issuer with a lower interest rate, you can do so. The credit card industry is extremely competitive, and card issuers are eager for business. To find cards that offer the lowest standard interest rates, look for products that don’t have a rewards program.
Another option is to open up a new account with a 0% APR promotional balance transfer offer. These offers allow cardholders to move an existing balance from one card to another, and avoid incurring interest for as long as 18 months. Although most cards have a 3% balance transfer fee, the Chase Slate currently has a promotional balance transfer offer with 0% APR and no fee (if transfer is done within 60 days of opening the account).
When it comes to a lower interest rate on a credit card, it never hurts to ask. Thankfully, the credit card market remains competitive, and cardholders who have improving credit histories will often receive a lower rate.
At publishing time, the Chase Slate is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com may be compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
More on Credit Cards:
- The Credit.com Credit Card Learning Center
- How to Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rates
- 6 Smart Credit Card Strategies
- How Secured Cards Can Help Build Credit
- Tips for Paying Off Credit Card Debt
- How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit