Sample Script To Get Your Credit Card Rate Lowered

Want a lower interest rate on your credit card? Call up your credit card company and say, “I think I’ve been a good customer. I’d like to stay with you, but I really want you to lower the rate on my card. Can you help me?” If they say no, ask to speak to a supervisor and say the same thing. CBCnews approached 10 shoppers at random in a mall and had them call up their credit card company and tell them exactly what we told you. Six of them got their interest rate reduced. Those sound like odds worth playing to me.

(Thanks to Thomas!) (Photo: Getty)

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  1. socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

    I tried this with my BofA visa. They were more than happy to cancel it for me, and kept asking if I wanted to do that.

  2. chemmy says:

    Same for me with Providian. They told me if I didn’t like the rate they were happy to cancel the card and I could go elsewhere.

    I told them to go ahead.

    They never bothered. I still keep getting new cards in the mail and can’t figure out how to get rid of them. (Providian)

  3. kmn842 says:

    I was able to get the rate on my Discover Card lowered to 3.9%, but only for 6 months. That was fine by me, I was only getting it lowered in order to get cashback on a down payment on a car, and wanted the lower rate in case I couldn’t pay it back in time.

  4. greensmurf says:

    What I dont understand is I have a capital one card and I get about 4-6 offers for creditcards from them both for my self and under my business. This is every month damn tree killers!!

  5. Chols says:

    I’ve tried via email to get a rate reduction, but they say no. They always tell my I got a limit increase tho!!

  6. Michael Belisle says:

    Since I like to brag about great banks and credit unions, here’s how my call with Navy Federal Credit Union went when I was at 10.9%:

    Me: “I’d like to see if I can get a lower interest rate.”
    CSR: “Have you had your yearly interest-rate evaluation?”
    Me: “Nope.”
    CSR: “Let me go ahead and do that. [pause] We can offer you 7.9%.”
    Me: “Great.”
    CSR: “Anything else we can do for you?”

    For comparison purposes, here’s how USAA went:

    Me: “I’d like to see if I can get a lower interest rate.”
    CSR: “I see that some of your promotional rates are expiring soon. Let me see what I can do. [pause] I’m going to place you on hold for a minute. [hold] Unfortunately I can’t offer a lower purchase rate at this time, but I can offer you 4.25% for the life of your current balance.”
    Me: “Great.”

    I’d consider trying this on my cards from shitty banks, but why bother? NFCU and USAA have fee-free balance transfers.

    • reidnez says:

      Navy Federal is just amazing. I will never go back to a national bank–credit unions and community banks are where it’s at!

  7. Bladefist says:

    I’m suprised this works, credit cards are the new cash. Everyones got’em, customers are not short in supply

  8. Parting says:

    What do you do when your credit card offers you the lowest ”regular” rate (11%) in my province?

  9. Mi1ez says:

    I’ve got Washington Mutual and I just tried calling to ask that and I was handed off from a CSR to a case handler or some sort. She didn’t take more than a second to simply pull up my records to tell me that ‘after reviewing my credit rating’ there was nothing they could do for me at this time. I did mention that I’ve never missed a payment nor gone over my limit–but that didn’t change the answer one bit.

    Didn’t work for me.

  10. Mi1ez says:

    Oops.. I guess the one thing I forgot to do was ask for her sueprvisor.

  11. mtaylor924 says:

    About a year and a half or two years ago I started noticing suspicious rate increases on my (insert Big Bank name here) Visa card. When I called up to ask why, they said that my variable rate was tied to the prime rate, and that all customers who had variable rate cards with them had been raised. I asked when my rate could be lowered and the response was “when the prime rate is lowered”.

    Of course, the Fed has been slashing rates and yet my latest statement still shows the same rate. So I called up and asked if it could be lowered. At first the CSR said no, but when I calmly gave their own reasoning back to her, re: my rate being tied to prime, she put me on hold for less than 30 seconds to “check on something” and came back with a 3 point drop. Not a lot, but better than nothing. I only have less than a grand on it currently (owing to a large car service followed by an unexpected home repair), but every penny saved in finance charges is worth it.

    Moral: if your rate is variable, bring up the recent prime rate cuts when you call.

  12. coreyp319 says:

    Just tried it with my BofA card and it was a no go. I even tried to bluff a little and say I wanted it canceled in that case.

    I now have a canceled card, lol. No harm in trying I guess.

  13. Orv says:

    I had one late payment on my Citibank card, and they jacked up my rate to something ridiculous. Over a year later, they still won’t reduce it. I just don’t use that card. I have good credit and there are plenty of credit card companies that *do* want my business.

  14. sprocket79 says:

    I called BofA VISA about a month ago to see if they would lower my rate… they offered to lower it less than 1%, which I declined because they said something like they have promotional rates every so often and I could try back later. A week goes by and I get a letter confirming my lower rate and a credit limit increase. *sigh*

    I also tried leveraging the fact that I had just been approved for an AMEX that was a full 5% lower and had 0 APR for 12 months. That was useless. Guess I’m using the AMEX from now on!

  15. jlayman920 says:

    This script works better. Call and tell them that you have X number of cards and you are going to pay off all of them but one. Obviously you are going to keep and use whichever one offers you the lowest interest rate. If they tell you no, tell them you are thinking about cancelling and would like to speak to retention. If retention, who’s job is to keep you from closing, or saving, your account then there is nothing to be done. If you can afford to pay it off, do so. Don’t close your account for two reasons. One, it will affect your credit score especially if it is one of your older cards. Two, it will cost your credit card company more money to continue carrying you and not making any interest money off of your zero balance card than it would to close your account. We continuously get people calling in saying “I pay my card on time in full every month, I deserve blah blah blah”. Guess what pal, you are the worst type of cardholder to a credit card company. We make no money off of you. We want someone who carries a balance and pays interest every month. You’d be surprised how fast credit card companies will call your bluff and close your account if you are one of the on time and in full types.

  16. silver25u20 says:

    I tried this on my AmEx Blue Cash card and they offered to lower my rate 2% to 8.9% from 10.9%. Not a dramatic reduction, but every little bit helps. Plus I didn’t even have to ask and the representative was very helpful.

  17. Aphex242 says:

    @jlayman920: But if you’re an on time and in full type, why in the world would you care about your rate, anyway?

  18. Michael Belisle says:

    @chouchou: Say you’re not a regular customer.

  19. jlayman920 says:

    @aphex242: Hey, you tell me. When you try to explain that to people they just don’t understand. I don’t know if they like to brag to their friends or what it is.

  20. polyeaster says:

    I did this with BOA several months ago- I was on a penalty rate for a payment that was a few days late last year, and it’d been more than 6 months since that late payment…all my payments since then had been on time, so I called requesting info on why they had not lowered it. (Their website says if you pay 6 in a row on time, it will be lowered.) The reps shuffled me around, advised me there was nothing they could do…same with the supervisor.

    I remained calm/polite, called up executive customer service (Thanks for the #, Consumerist!)and calmly asked why BOA was unable to follow their written policy for my account. The gentleman I spoke with was very nice, lowered my rate to 11.9 FIXED. Fixed is nice…

  21. Rando says:

    Don’t bother calling for store cards, ie JCPenny, etc. They don’t have variable rates.

  22. MelL says:

    @jlayman920: I suppose the time may come where they do need to carry a balance forward that they can’t pay off in one fell swoop, like a medical emergency or a sudden car repair that needs to be performed.

  23. That-Dude says:

    @Michael Belisle: When did you get that 4.25? I received a 3.4 for 12 or 6.4 for life. Navy Fed has a 5.9 for life going.

  24. AMetamorphosis says:

    I highly advise consumers to do this.
    I regularly ( about every 6 months ) call each of my credit card companies and NICELY ask if there is a possibility of getting the interest rates reduced.

    I would say about 1/2 the time I am successful.

    One thing I would advise is to tell them that due to the high interest rate they currently are offering me I just CAN’T afford to carry a balance … that has helped in many instances.

    I can’t stress enough that being polite helps !

    Good luck …

  25. AMetamorphosis says:

    Something to add:

    When you call, kindly tell them you just can’t afford to carry a balance @ the current rate …

    ( Note, I don’t carry balances but, if they “think” you might carry one it seems to help.)

    About 1/2 the time this has worked for me.

    You don’t know until you ask !

  26. B says:

    @aphex242: In case you have to carry a balance. Even the most diligent consumers can be hit with unexpected medical/repair bills that would necessitate carrying a balance for a month or two.

  27. bravo369 says:

    i pay my cards in full and on time. i’ve had maybe 1 late payment in 8 years. Consumerist posted another article months back and said I was the worst customer to card companies because they make no money off of me. I guess that’s why I had no luck lowering my APR on my 2 cards when i tried last year. Only reason I want to lower it anyway is in the chance i have a big purchase in the future. Maybe i’ll try these methods this time

  28. the_wiggle says:

    @jlayman920: or if you have low credit score or late payments.

  29. Lee Jones says:

    I just happened to do this tonight (before reading this article). I called up about my MBNA card that had become a BoA card. I just asked if they could do anything about the 18.99 percent rate and the CSR put me on hold and came back and said he could drop it to 10.99 for me (and did so). Perhaps it depends on which CSR you get.

  30. Michael Belisle says:

    @That-Dude: It was at least a year ago.

    I’m pretty sure the banks tailor their offers these days to each customer, so it’s useless to compare. By using a magical formula, the CSR gets to say that you’re getting “best” rate the bank offers (or maybe they just lie). Everybody wins!

  31. sleepydumbdude says:

    I did it once to a crappy card I got in high school that had 20. something % interest. I got another card in the mail with a lower interest but I liked the look of my old one better. Called up and got it lowered to 12 something.

  32. Jim says:

    We call Capital One every 6 months or so, and they always say the same thing, then abruptly end the call:

    We review all our accounts periodically and adjust rates at that time. We don’t do it by request.

  33. Coelacanth says:

    @mtaylor924: I have variable rates on AMEX, Citibank, Discover, and … evil upon evils, BofA. After each Fed rate cut, the next billing cycle revealed my APR was decreased by the corresponding amount.

    While some of these banks (*cough* BofA *cough*) are downright sneaky, they didn’t force me to call in to have my rates lowered on a variable APR.

    A small blessing, I guess.

    @Jim: I’ve had the same experience with them. My solution was simply to pay off the card and never use it again. (The account’s still open to preserve my credit score.)

  34. darkened says:

    @Jim: I have a recent capital one card that I got for it’s fixed 8.9% or so life of the card rate. In the welcome material it said all customers who have on time payment for the first 3 billing periods will receive an automatic credit limit increase. After those 3 months passed, I emailed them and their response was to call the account # and hit the buttons for a credit limit increase. The automated response was my account was not eligible for a credit limit increase at this time, however a week or so later I received the notice that the limit had increased. It seems prodding their system reminds it to actually do something for you.

  35. That-Dude says:

    @Michael Belisle:I understand that . . . I just wanted to see if there was a new promotion that I could leverage.

  36. sixseeds says:

    I’ve been trying to do this to have a contingency plan in the event of a financial emergency, but since I don’t carry a balance nobody wants to lower my rates. (I don’t say that self-righteously; I screwed up a bit in college and have been super-debt-paranoid ever since.) Any pointers, anyone?

  37. nuttycakes says:

    @greensmurf: An environmental organization that works to change consumption patterns in the US has a pretty good “Junk Your Junk Mail” campaign that includes a bunch of templates for letters to send in and stop getting credit card offers. Check it out at [www.newdream.org] Also, their Carbon Conscious Consumer [c3.newdream.org] blog has a whole Junk Your Junk Mail category. I started using their tips in the fall and my mailbox is practically empty!

  38. AMetamorphosis says:

    HEADS UP:

    Discover is feeling competitive today.

    I called and asked what my interest rate is: 14.99%
    I explained to the CSR that I was looking to get a competitive rate as we wish to purchase some large ticket items for our home.
    After a few minutes I was able to negotiate 12.99%

    It pays to “DISCOVER” that credit grantors are hurtin’ for business :-)

  39. That-Dude says:

    @sixseeds: The plannig on a big purchase usually works.

  40. aaronw1 says:

    I never called to lower an interest rate because I never carry a balance. However, my Citicard 5% on gas/groceries/pharmacies got “expired” somehow – the card when I got it said lifetime but they don’t offer it anymore. So I called up to cancel it because I was only getting 1% points. They gave me back the 5% for the year. I’ll almost certainly do that after the year is up as well. Yes, you are not paying me enough to use your credit card, I demand more!

  41. Mr. Gunn says:

    aaronw1: The 5 points per dollar thing is just for the first year, but sometimes they will extend it.

  42. ClutchDude says:

    Wow. Thanks consumerist! I just called Citibank and asked them very nicely to reduce my rate. They cut it half!

  43. Anonymous says:

    A couple months ago I called BoA and was able to get them to cut down my amount owed from over $8k to just over $4k.

    Basically, I just told them that giving me a credit card for $8k while still in college was ridiculous considering that I was a full-time student and had no real income. They agreed and made the cut .. I’ve since paid the card off and destroyed it immediately after.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Worked for me.

    I called my WaMu Credit card it went from %11.99 ->%8.99
    I told them I was going to pay off one of my Credit Cards with the higest rate, and keep a balance on the other one with the lowest %.

  45. 108Reliant says:

    Something people should be aware of canceling their credit cards? It does damage to your credit score.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I just did this with my Chase card, which had just shot up from 0% to 13.99% (the promotional rate ended). They sent me to the “Rate Specialist” who lowered my rate from 13.99% to 9.9% variable! I am been carrying a small balance, so every little bit helps!

    Great advice, Consumerist!!!!!

  47. GreenGummiBear says:

    Just did this with both of my Citibank cards using the second script recommended (I have several cards with balances, looking to consolidate… Can you help me with the interest rate? Looking to see which ones make most sense to keep…).

    When I mentioned that one of the cards I had was another Citibank card, the CSR suggested doing a balance transfer at 5.99% fixed for life of balance, and then offered to send me balance transfer checks to use any way I want.

    My original rate was only lowered from 13.99% to 4.99% + prime, but the CSR even suggested I use the check to pay off my current balance to get the 5.99% , and gave me 2.99% on new purchases. Seems pretty decent…

    Then I called the other Citibank card, had to speak to a supervisor, but they gave me 2.9% + prime. So I might just keep that balance for now.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Here’s what I do to them. Take their card offers and carefully fold them up, including the envelope that they came in and insert the whole mess into their postage paid envelope. Write a note on it saying “please take me off your mailing list..”.etc Make sure the the whole wad of papers is “chunky” or “thick”. This will cause the postage rate to go to the next level and will force them to pay almost one dollar to get their own solicitation back.

  49. Brittany Stewart says:

    I did this just now with my CC company. I got a 0% APR on new purchases/ up to 250 of my balance and from 251 on up, I have a 20.99% APR, which is down 8 percentage points.

    They told me that if I miss a payment again (since I guess I missed one in May) my APR reverts back. I’m still putting this in the win column.

  50. Roy says:

    I am in the business of providing credit cards to members of our credit union. And I have a problem with lowering rates, at least lowering our rate first. Credit unions did not play the bad guys that resulted in the recent Credit Card Act of 2009. We have always offer good deals in terms and rates. So if a member has an 8.7% Fixed Rate card with his or her credit unions and several cards elsewhere ranging from 14% to 29%; which cards should he or she be working on?
    And should they get the other rates lowered first and, if failing to do so, should the 8.7% card issuer refuse to lower the rate, waiting until the more onerous rates have been cut?

  51. jayally says:

    Thanks to this article I am more aware of my interest rates and had some small success with getting a couple lowered. Chase would not budge on my 12.24% & 13.24% rates. I even have my mortgage, car loan and savings/checking with them. Amex changed my 27.16% (this was the reason I hardly used it) to 12.24% and Discover went from 16.99% to 15.25% – very disappointing. I was working on paying Discover off and making progress so I will continue to target that card unless they lower the rate comparable or better than my other cards. I was told by chase and Discover that maybe I will eventually receive a better rate letter in the mail so I am hoping my call will trigger a nice letter for once instead of one lowering credit limits and raising rates! Thanks Consumerist!