Six Credit Card Items You Can Negotiate
If you’ve ever struggled to pay down high-interest credit card debt, you know that it can start to feel overwhelming at times – almost as if your credit card is running the show and you’re just along for the ride. This out-of-control feeling is a little scary, and a lot discouraging. And it can be a huge barrier to improving your financial life, whether your goal is to get your finances back on track, pay off debt, or revamp your budget.
There’s good news, though: Although you might feel like your credit cards are in the driver’s seat, you have more control than you might realize. Not all terms and conditions are set in stone, after all. In some cases, a quick phone call can help you lock down more favorable terms and conditions – especially if you’re a long-term customer with a history of responsible credit card use.
Want to feel like you’re in control of your credit cards? Here are five things that are often negotiable:
- You can have your late fees waived. Even the most responsible credit card users out there make mistakes. You get busy or distracted, you forget, or you misplace or accidentally delete a bill, and suddenly you’re looking at an extra $30 or so tacked on to your existing balance. If you’re typically on top of your bills and you’ve never missed a payment, your credit card company may be willing to remove the fee. Of course, if late or missed payments are kind of normal for you, there’s probably not much you can do except pay the fee and try to be more diligent about paying your bills when they’re due. And speaking paying bills on time. . .
- You can change your due date. Picking a due date that’s easier to manage will help you avoid missed or late payments in the future. Most credit card companies see this as a win-win and will be more than happy to adjust your due date to something that’s more convenient – regardless of your payment history or track record.
- You can ask for a lower interest rate. This is another one that largely depends on your track record – but if you’re in good standing with your credit card company, you may be able to talk them down to a slightly lower interest rate. My advice? Start by doing some comparison shopping to find out how your interest rate stacks up against others. If you think your interest rates are on the high side, call your credit company and ask them if they can offer something lower. If you’re a good customer, they’ll probably be willing to do something to keep your business.
- You can increase your credit limit. Your credit score is determined by several factors, including your total amount of available credit, and your ratio of available credit vs. credit you are actually using. A larger pool of available credit will increase your total credit and widen the gap between your used and available credit. This is another one that’s typically easier to get if you’re in good standing with your credit card company, but it’s definitely worth investigating. Just remember that an increase in your credit limit is NOT a license to spend more money – your goal is to have more unused credit, not to acquire more credit card debt.
- You can (maybe) get your annual fees waived. This isn’t a sure thing, even if you’re a longtime customer with a solid payment history. And if you have a highly specialized rewards card (like a card that gives you travel points or cash back), you probably won’t get a waiver. But it doesn’t hurt to ask.
- You can extend the introductory terms. Credit card companies often tempt new customers with super-low rates or no finance charges for X amount of months for a limited time, of course. You may be able to get them extended by a month or so (or indefinitely!). Again, it’s another long shot – but it never hurts to ask!
And remember, you can always reach out to the Debt Guru team for more advice about money, budgeting, and credit cards. Contact us today for a free debt relief consultation.