Even if you are paying your credit card bills on time, you may still be looking at your statements each month in distress. It’s all there in black and white: the interest rate, the annual fees, and maybe even the occasional-but-hefty late charge.
If you feel stressed when opening your credit card statements, it may be time for you to fight for a better deal. Luckily, negotiating with credit card companies isn’t as hard as you think. If you are persistent and determined, you’ll be surprised at how eager some banks and other credit card issuers are willing to work with you.
Here are five ways you can negotiate with credit card companies—and keep it on your terms.
1. Go Right to the Top
There’s no sense in wasting any time. When calling your credit card company to negotiate a better deal, it’s best to ask to speak to a manager right away. It’s crucial, however, to always be polite and assure the representative who answered the call that there isn’t a problem.
The representative may ask you if there is a way for them to help you before they send you to their supervisor. At this point, explain to your representative what you are trying to accomplish and what you would like to change about your credit card bill—they may be able to help on their level. If they are unable to assist you, however, speaking to a supervisor is more likely to get you the result you are looking for.
2. Request a Due Date Change
If your credit card payment due dates are putting you in a compromising financial position and are not aligning with your budget or pay schedule, request a due date change. Many credit card companies are willing to move the date to help increase timely payments.
If you are consistently making late payments, it would be in your best interest to request a more suitable date. Not only are you incurring late fees and interest, but you’re also causing your credit score to take a dip. A due date change can make all the difference in keeping you financially healthy.
3. Bargain for a Better Interest Rate
Your interest rate might be good—but is it good enough? Perhaps you have been getting some competitive offers from other credit card companies but choose to ignore them because you are content with your current credit card company. If so, you may be missing out on a better deal.
Take those other offers and use them as a bargaining chip instead. Come to the table prepared with all the perks, interest rates, and other benefits that you would be getting if you switched cards. More than likely, your credit card company won’t want to lose you as a customer and will be willing to beat or at least match the offers you are getting.
4. Ask for a Late Payment Fee Waiver
Credit card companies may be willing to let a little hiccup of a late payment slide for customers with long and responsible payment histories. If you have consistently been late with your payments, however, they probably will not give you credit for all your late fees—but they may be willing to negotiate with you if you offer to sign up for automatic payments. If you show good faith in trying to improve your payment record, you may be able to get in their good graces and be accommodated.
5. Haggle to Get That Annual Fee Removed
While there are many credit cards out there that offer perks without an annual fee, many others charge as much as $95 per year in exchange for a few extra perks. When you first signed up for your credit card, the annual fee you were paying may have worked in your favor because you were taking advantage of the benefits as a cardholder.
Take a look at your monthly spending. Are your cash back rewards and other benefits outweighing the annual fee? If your answer is no, then it’s possible you are holding a card that isn’t the right fit for you anymore. While it’s not recommended that you close your credit card account (doing so can also lower your credit score), try haggling to get the annual fee removed or consider downgrading to a no-annual-fee option.
Before you apply for any credit card, review your credit report for free at Credit.com and make sure your credit score is healthy enough to get you approved. A hard inquiry into your credit can drop your credit score, so make sure you’re prepared. Visit Credit.com’s Personal Finance Learning Center for more information.