Attention: You Lowered Your APR Just By Asking, Again.

You guys are so awesome. You call your credit card company and you ask them to lower your APR…and they do! It just keeps happening! Reader Jacob writes:

    I’d been thinking seriously about getting a new card and transferring the balance…. I was fairly certain that I could find a card that would allow me to transfer my balance and pay 0% for at least a year (Instead of paying 500+ bucks in interest over the next 6 months with my current card).

    Before I switched, I figured I’d give my bank (a mid-size, midwestern outfit) a chance to make the first offer. I called, quickly got a real person, and explained casually that I’m currently paying 16.5% fixed APR, I’m a longtime customer, and I wondered if I qualified for a better rate. Without much hesitation, he offered me a 12.5 % variable rate. OK good start. Continuing the casual conversation I spoke about getting a new card (even asking what other cards they offered) and transferring the balance, because it made sense to me to not pay so much interest. Out of nowhere came an offer for a 3.9% APR on my current balance for 6 months.

Way to go, Jacob. Lowering your interest rate is a good step towards paying off your balance! You are going to pay off your balance, right Jacob? —MEGHANN MARCO

Read Jacob’s email inside.

Jacob writes:

    Reading Consumerist daily, I’ve become a more emboldened consumer, this is a recent success story.

    I have been carrying a balance of about 5-6k on a credit card for over a year. I’ll pay chunks of 1 to 2k off at a time but some of my business expenses bring the balance back up quickly. I’ve started to make a bit more money and I’m committed to paying down my balance in the next few months. But in the meantime, I’m paying fixed 16.5% APR on my balance, almost $95 a month. I have good credit and this my only card (my first) which I’ve had for several years.

    I’d been thinking seriously about getting a new card and transferring the balance. I found a good website, http://www.creditcards.com, that compares transfer rates, APR’s, other benefits and fees. I was fairly certain that I could find a card that would allow me to transfer my balance and pay 0% for at least a year (Instead of paying 500+ bucks in interest over the next 6 months with my current card).

    Before I switched, I figured I’d give my bank (a mid-size, midwestern outfit) a chance to make the first offer. I called, quickly got a real person, and explained casually that I’m currently paying 16.5% fixed APR, I’m a longtime customer, and I wondered if I qualified for a better rate. Without much hesitation, he offered me a 12.5 % variable rate. OK good start. Continuing the casual conversation I spoke about getting a new card (even asking what other cards they offered) and transferring the balance, because it made sense to me to not pay so much interest. Out of nowhere came an offer for a 3.9% APR on my current balance for 6 months. OK, now were talking.

    With all the hassle of applying for a new card, the usual balance transfer fees (usually around 3-5%) and the strain of a new line of credit on my credit history, this seemed like a good deal and I was happy to remain loyal.

    Moral of the story: if you have options, you have some control. Be nice, be causal and let the subtext, (“I’m getting screwed here and I am more than happy to go to another issuer and save some significant money”) speak for itself.

    Jacob