Get Those Credit Card Rate increases Canceled

A Kiplinger reader shares his strategy for getting ridiculous rate increases on his three credit cards rolled back to their original rates. It’s a technique that’s probably familiar to a lot of Consumerist readers when negotiating for lower rates in general: be polite but unyielding, know where you stand as far as leverage (it helps to have a perfect history with the company), start with basic customer service, and then escalate as needed.

The plan, as always, is to give customer service one chance to provide they help they’re supposed to provide, and then to manage the situation so that you end up in the hands of executive-level customer service—usually by calling a corporate number and trying to speak directly to an executive.

At that point, he’s usually transferred to Escalated Customer Service. “Here you tone down your act and say you can’t believe that the company treats consumers this way and that there are other companies that want my business,” says Sweet. “Always remember to be nice here.”

The next step is the same every time. “They will say they need to look into it and will get back to you,” he says. “They always do. I figure it’s during this time that they look at your account and see how much money they will lose if you go elsewhere. That is why I assume that having perfect credit with them is important.”

“Lower Your Credit-Card Rates” [Kiplinger]
(Photo: Getty)

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  1. benh57 says:

    I’ve never cared too much about my rate, since i never hold a balance…

  2. HOP says:

    so far ,our rates have been pretty fair…..at least as fgar as credit card co rates go………….

  3. LilKoko says:

    What about when you never carry a balance, always pay on time, but are a low $ volume user? “I’m going to take my $50-a-month-paid-on-time elsewhere if you don’t lower my rate!” Somehow, I don’t see them caring if you leave.

  4. quail says:

    Assuming you have good credit in general why not join a credit union and get a low interest credit card through them? Unlike other credit cards you won’t find yourself with a company that’s bought or merged and therefore have your interest rate jacked.

    (Oh, how I miss my People’s Bank Card that was bought by RBS. The low rates I had slowly eroded and I came to grips with snarky behavior with credit card statement games. Bills arriving 5 days before the due date then changing to 20 days when I paid electronically, and finally the due date moving ahead by 2 days mysteriously and without warning. RBS terminated my account last summer when I hadn’t used their card in over a year. Yea, it hurt my FICO score but the I never planned on using their card ever again. Good riddance.)

  5. catcherintheeye says:

    Keep in mind this can backfire – I recently threatened to cancel my credit card with Capital One (not even for a lower rate, but for a higher limit) and they made absolutely no attempt to keep me as a customer – I was promptly transferred to their department that closes accounts.

    In retrospect, I’m glad I canceled, as the company obviously doesn’t care about keeping its customers (or I just wasn’t worth the trouble to keep around).

  6. davere says:

    I tried that with Capital One after they raised my rate from 4.9% fixed to 9.9% fixed. They’d only go as low as 8.9% fixed, almost double what I was paying.

    I tried the normal channels, then executive customer service. No one would budge. I told them I was going to cancel, they were fine with it, so I canceled and transferred my balance to a (now, after CO’s increase) better card.

    I have an excellent credit rating, they were the only card where I carried a balance (almost $4,000), so they lost money on me. For a while at least since I’m working on not ever carrying a balance anymore.

  7. gingerCE says:

    Because I pay off my cards I don’t care about rate now–I mostly care about rewards.

    BUT there was a time when I did carry a balance, but I was ill informed and didn’t worry about my rates (big mistake). I have an RBS card I don’t use now since it has no rewards, but what’s nice is while other cards have been shifting their rates, I’ve had a 7.99% on this card since I got a few years back.

    My Target card which I use only at Target to get discounts has an apr of over 24%. That’s kinda criminal in my mind, but since I don’t carry a balance, it doesn’t affect me financially.

  8. justaconsumer says:

    I tried this with JP Morgan Chase. Their whole plan is to raise your rate. They do not care if they lose you. I had a card with them for more than 10 years and they jacked my rate up to 29.99%. I called. They said there was nothing they could do and no one I could talk to. Canceled the card and got one with my credit union.

  9. Keirmeister says:

    Capital One tried to rate-jack me with a 5% increase. It definitely helps to have good credit and a good history with them. I was told that there was nothing they could do for me. I had two choices: accept the increase or close the account.

    But I had a third choice: Pay off the little balance I had and “sock-drawer” the card (don’t cancel the card, as that hurts your credit score).

    Now I’ll only charge a candy bar to it every now and then and pay it off – just to keep the card active. This way it costs them more to have me as a customer, and it costs me nothing.

  10. Trackback says:

    My girlfriend and I managed to get almost all of our remaining “brick-and-mortar” gift shopping completed yesterday. Considering today’s snow and ice, I’m happy we don’t have to brave the crowds any longer.