Clark Howard: Lower the interest rate on your credit card

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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 pre-approved credit card offers coming at you, save money by using the marketplace to get a better deal. CreditCards.com says you have a two-in-three chance of this working when you call.
This is key for people who run balances. And if you’re in the one-in-three who get turned down, just take up the new offer. Don’t close the account, but do dump the company.

On another issue, years ago if you made a late payment and were charged a fee, you could call up the credit card company and get it waived based on your history of on-time payments.

During the last seven years, that sort of thing came to a 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.

– Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website

Follow Atlanta Bargain Hunter Nedra Rhone on Facebook | Twitter | Email.


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