Home > Credit Cards > Can You Negotiate With Your Credit Card Company?

Comments 1 Comment

So you’re wondering if you can negotiate with your credit card company? The short answer: it depends.

Credit card companies may negotiate on some things — credit line increases, due dates and even minimum payments. But other things — like special offer terms — aren’t really negotiable. The key is understanding what you can negotiate on, as well as how to negotiate.

What Can You Negotiate?

Credit card companies are surprisingly open to negotiate on a number of issues. This is especially true if you’re a customer in good standing — if you’ve made consistent on-time payments and haven’t charged more than your credit card’s limit. Here are some of the things credit card companies are often willing to negotiate on.

Payment due date. Your due date is typically automatically set when you get approved for your card. But if a particular payment date isn’t working well for you, ask to get it changed. Some credit card companies are so flexible about this that you can just change your due date online. (Just be sure you know which billing cycle the due date change will affect.)

Interest rate. Let’s say you’ve had a credit card for a few years. When you first signed up, you had mediocre credit. Now, you have much better credit, a low balance, and you’ve made on-time payments for years.

The credit card company probably won’t just hand you an interest rate reduction on a silver platter. But you can ask. And, chances are that if you mention that you found a better interest rate deal elsewhere, the company will reduce your interest rate to keep your business.

Credit limit. Again, if you’ve been a customer in good standing for a few months or years and have made your payments on time, you may be able to get a credit limit raise. Even if you don’t plan to use the extra credit, the more credit you have available, the better your credit score because your ratio of debt to available credit is a big factor in your scores.

Annual fee. Annual fees are often waived for new customers, but getting an annual fee waived after you’ve been a cardholder for a few years may be a bit more difficult. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort though — many issuers would rather keep you as a client and waive a fee than lose you.

Minimum payment. If you’ve fallen on hard times and can’t afford your credit card’s minimum payment, don’t panic. Call your credit card company immediately. Tell the representative about your situation, and see what the company will do for you. Often times, in cases like this, you may be able to negotiate a lower minimum payment. That way, you can stay in good standing without breaking the budget.

Late charges. Forget to make one credit card payment on time? Many companies will forgive the (often hefty) late charge fee once every year or two. As long as you aren’t in the habit of making late payments, you could get the benefit of the doubt.

Long-term repayment plans. If you’re in really bad financial straits, talk to your credit card company about a forbearance agreement or a long-term repayment plan. The first will keep you from having to make payments for a set period of time. The second could let you pay your debt back with reduced or no interest.

Lump sum settlements. So what happens if you’re literally on the verge of bankruptcy? Well, your credit card issuer may let you pay off your debt for less than you actually owe. A lump sum settlement payment can actually save the company money in the long run. Once you’ve been behind on payments for months and are leaning towards bankruptcy, you can negotiate to settle your debt — sometimes for pennies on the dollar.

How Can You Negotiate?

Exactly how you negotiate with your credit card company will depend on your circumstances. The first step is to just ask – especially if you’re asking for something small, like a due date change. Just call the company and say, “Hey, my paychecks come in on the 15th every month, so I’d like to change my due date to the 20th.”

But if you’re dealing with bigger asks — like a significant credit line increase, the waiving of an annual fee, or other issues — take these steps.

1. Figure out where you stand.

First, know where you stand as a credit card customer. You’ll be more likely to get what you want if you’re a good customer, which means two things: you make payments on time and you make the company money.

How do you know if you make the company money? Well, you either pay finance charges because you carry a balance from month to month, or you use your card frequently. Using your card frequently makes the credit card company money because it gets an interchange fee on every transaction.

On the flip side, you’re more likely to negotiate for dramatic changes — like a lump sum repayment at a reduced cost — if you’re having difficulty keeping up with your agreement. Maybe you haven’t made payments in months, and aren’t improving financially. In this case, the company may just want to cut its losses, so your offer for a lump sum repayment or a reduced rate long-term repayment plan may look more attractive to them.

This is why many debt settlement companies will tell you to stop making payments on purpose. It’s scary and counterintuitive. But if you decide to work with one of these companies, you may have to take this route.

2. Speak with a manager.

As soon as you get on the line with a credit card company representative, ask for a supervisor. That original rep you talk with can probably unlock your online account when you’ve forgotten a password or enter an address change. What s/he normally cannot do is reduce your interest rate or change your repayment plan.

So skip a few minutes of meaningless conversation by politely asking for a manager as soon as you can.

3. Be persistent.

If you’re asking for credit card changes — especially big ones — you may need to be persistent.

When you’re coming from the position of a customer in good standing, you may get further faster if you have leverage. For instance, look up competing credit card offers and tell the issuer you’re considering moving your account or transferring your balance. That may be enough to get them to cooperate.

Negotiating with a credit card company won’t always have the outcome you want. But it sure doesn’t hurt to ask — and even to get a bit aggressive.

More on Credit Cards:

Image: Mike Watson Images

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • http://www.mycreditcounselor.net Andrew Weber Certified CC

    If it’s a settlement you’re trying to negotiate, always start lower than what you intend to settle for and make sure you get any agreements in writing.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other sponsored content on Credit.com are Partners with Credit.com. Credit.com receives compensation if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any financial products or cards offered.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team